The following are major potential risks to which the Takara Group (the Group and its affiliated companies) is exposed in its business and other activities. Upon identification of the possibility of such risks, the Group will make its best efforts to avoid such an occurrence or take countermeasures against such an occurrence.

Descriptions related to the possible occurrence of events in the future are based on the Group’s judgments as of March 31, 2021. Please note that the following descriptions do not cover all of the risk factors concerning investment decisions.

(1) Risks concerning consumer preferences and demand fluctuations

The majority of Takara Shuzo’s sales are generated within Japan, and its market is highly vulnerable to changes in the tastes of consumers. Takara Shuzo therefore strives to develop both original products that meet the ever-changing tastes of consumers and unique products that differentiate the Company from competitors. However, changes in consumer trends have been accelerating recently.  For this reason, if Takara Shuzo fails to offer attractive products that satisfy the tastes of consumers and reflect market trends, it may cause a decline in business growth and profitability. Furthermore, in Japan, population decline, the low birthrate and the rapidly aging population could lead to a decline in liquor demand, which may adversely affect business performance and financial position. To respond flexibly to changes in consumer needs and advance the development of differentiated high-value-added products, Takara Shuzo implemented a reorganization to bring together the technology division and the product planning and nurturing division into a single division.

(2) Risks concerning market competition

(i) Takara Shuzo

In the Japanese alcoholic beverages and seasonings market, amid sluggish growth in the overall market, competition in product development and marketing strategies with competing companies has intensified. The intensification of competition may lead to a decline in sales and profitability, which may adversely affect business performance and financial position. Takara Shuzo is striving to address these challenges by developing and cultivating products that are differentiated by its proprietary technologies, strengthening its brand power, carrying out sales activities that reflect the changes in distribution channels, and engaging in thorough cutting costs to generate the funds to support these activities.

(ii) Takara Shuzo International Group

In the Overseas Alcoholic Beverages Business, the whisky market has many stalwart manufacturers around the world, while fierce competition with a large number of rival export companies producing overseas or manufacturing in Japan is also present in the Japanese alcoholic beverages market, including sake products. Furthermore, in the Japanese Food Wholesale Business overseas, while the size of the overseas market for Japanese food and alcoholic beverages is expanding, albeit temporarily stagnating due to the COVID-19 pandemic, competition is also intensifying due to low barriers to entry. If we are not able to remain competitive enough to surpass our rivals, the Group’s business performance and financial position may be adversely affected. The Takara Shuzo International Group is striving to address these challenges by developing and cultivating appealing products with Takara Shuzo’s technologies through collaboration with Takara Shuzo, while strengthening our brand power. We are also striving to enhance our product procurement capability, including intergroup procurement that takes advantage of group synergies, and to diversify our sales channels to add to the restaurant market, which is our strength.

(iii) Takara Bio Group

The Takara Bio Group holds a unique industrial position with a certain financial foundation, solid presence in the Asian market, and a broad lineup of proprietary technologies. However, manufacturing and sales of research reagents and scientific instruments, unlike medical devices, do not require permits and approvals. Therefore, the lack of barriers such as patents makes it relatively easy to enter these markets, and there are a large number of competing companies.

In addition, in the gene therapy field, technological advances are fueling the development of therapeutic agents with a high level of safety and track records of efficacy, which is leading to approval for manufacturing and marketing overseas. With the expansion of market size in this field, many market participants, including major U.S. and European pharmaceutical manufacturers and start-ups, have launched initiatives to research and develop gene therapies.

In this environment, the Takara Bio Group is working independently and partnering with external bodies, such as universities, to develop technologies and products. At the same time, if other companies are quicker than the Takara Bio Group in similar product or technology fields, it may adversely affect the product development and business performance of the Group. Taking such risks into account, the Takara Bio Group will strive to dominate the market and differentiate itself from competitors, by protecting the technologies and products developed by the Takara Bio Group as intellectual properties to the extent possible, and maintain price competitiveness by promoting cost reductions and strengthening its manufacturing structure.

(3) Risks concerning dependence on particular plants for manufacturing

(i) Takara Shuzo

Most of Takara Shuzo’s alcoholic beverage products are manufactured at the Fushimi Plant (Fushimi Ward, Kyoto City) and Matsudo Plant (Matsudo City, Chiba Prefecture). In the event of a major earthquake or any other occurrence that disrupts operations in either of these areas, the manufacture and supply of products could decline significantly, adversely affecting Takara Shuzo’s business performance and financial position. Takara Shuzo has established a Business Continuity Plan (BCP) for the entire company and for individual locations to ensure stable production and supply. It has also built a flexible production system through a system of mutual support that also encompasses the Kusu Plant (Yokkaichi City, Mie Prefecture).


(ii) Takara Bio Group

Most of the Takara Bio Group’s mainstay reagents used for research are manufactured by Chinese subsidiary Takara Biotechnology (Dalian) Co., Ltd. Any changes in the revenue trend of that subsidiary or other factors, such as suspension of its business for any reason, may adversely affect the Takara Bio Group’s business strategies and performance. Taking such risks into account, we have established a multipolar manufacturing and research structure on a global scale that includes Japan, while considering the balance between improving efficiency and reducing risks.

(4) Risks concerning fluctuations of raw material prices

Takara Shuzo’s procurement of raw materials could be indirectly affected by the climatic and economic conditions of supplier countries and regions. Ethanol for shochu and other products comes mainly from South America and Asia, and rice for sake and other products is procured in Japan; therefore, the prices of these raw materials are influenced by weather conditions in these areas and the market for the raw material. Any hike in the procurement cost of raw materials will cause an increase in our production cost. If this increase cannot be added to the sales price due to, for example, market conditions, this in turn may adversely affect the Group’s business performance and financial position. Takara Shuzo strives to diversify its raw material suppliers to ensure stable and advantageous procurement, as well as working to reduce costs through technological innovation.

(5) Risks concerning Japan’s legal regulations

(i) Takara Shuzo

The Alcoholic Beverages Business of Takara Shuzo is subject to regulations specified under the Liquor Tax Law that governs liquor taxes and the licenses for the manufacturing and/or selling of alcoholic beverages in Japan. In accordance with the Liquor Tax Law, Takara Shuzo has obtained, in addition to the license as a seller, the license for manufacturing each type of product and for operating each manufacturing plant from the relevant taxation offices. In future business operations, Takara Shuzo will continue to be regulated by the Liquor Tax Law, and consequently any change to the liquor tax rates may affect selling prices and sales trends. In addition to complying with laws and regulations such as the Liquor Tax Law, Takara Shuzo strives to respond flexibly to revisions to legislation, implementing measures such as reviews of product strategies as necessary.


(ii) Takara Shuzo International Group

In the various countries where it is expanding its business, the Takara Shuzo International Group is subject to various government regulations, including export restrictions, tariff duties, and other types of import/export regulations, due to the need for permission to undertake business or investment, for national security reasons, or for other reasons. The Takara Shuzo International Group is also subject to legislation governing trade, monopolies, patents, consumers, taxation, foreign currency exchange, transportation, human rights, and environmental and recycling issues. Any failure by the Group to comply with any of these legislative regulations may lead to the restriction of its activities or an increase in the costs of compliance. The Group will implement measures to mitigate these impacts through compliance with laws and regulations.


(iii) Takara Bio Group

In advancing research and development, the Takara Bio Group is subject to, and has a policy committed to observing, the Act on Prevention of Radiation Hazards due to Radioisotopes, etc., as well as the Act on the Conservation and Sustainable Use of Biological Diversity through Regulations on the Use of Living Modified Organisms (abbreviated hereafter as the “Cartagena Act”). Also, the gene therapy products under development by the Takara Bio Group are subject to the Law on Securing Quality, Efficacy and Safety of Products Including Pharmaceuticals and Medical Devices, the Law on Securing Safety of Regenerative Medicine, etc., the Cartagena Protocol, and related laws and regulations. The purpose of these laws and regulations is to secure the quality, efficacy, and safety of pharmaceutical products, regenerative medical products, quasi-pharmaceutical products, special cell processing products, cosmetics, and medical devices. It is necessary to receive approval or permission from presiding government agencies in order to engage in commercial activities. If individual projects being advanced in research and development of the Takara Bio Group fail to receive the necessary approval, it may adversely affect the Group’s business strategies.

(6) Risks concerning social attitudes toward drinking

It has been said that drinking alcoholic beverages in moderation generally relieves weariness, increases appetite, eases stress, and works as a social lubricant. On the other hand, many problems in habitual drinking have been pointed out, such as intoxication, organ damage due to chronic drinking, alcohol use disorder, under-age drinking, and damage to the fetus owing to drinking by pregnant women, characteristics of which are not seen in any other beverages or foods. If these alcohol-attributable problems become more serious within society, production and sales activities may be further regulated or otherwise affected, and the business performance and financial position of the Group may be affected. Recognizing these problems, Takara Shuzo and the Takara Shuzo International Group, as organizations producing and selling alcoholic beverages, are carrying out various activities based on the Basic Policy on Responsible Drinking established by the Group to spread the idea of “controlled, moderate drinking” from the viewpoint of meeting their social responsibilities by helping to maintain and improve people’s health.

(7) Risks concerning R&D activities

The biotechnology-related industry covers a wide range of fields including the regenerative medical product field such as gene therapy, the research support field directly targeting research departments at universities, public research institutes, and private businesses as well as inspection companies aimed at basic research and drug discovery, and other fields, such as environment, energy, food, and information. In this situation, the Takara Bio Group believes that R&D activities covering a wide range of scope are extremely important to maintain the Group’s competitive edge. However, there is no guarantee that the R&D activities will progress as planned. In particular, due to a long period of time required for clinical development in the gene therapy field, any delay in R&D activities may adversely affect the Takara Bio Group’s business strategies and performance. Moreover, the business environment surrounding the biotechnology industry is rapidly changing, and the Takara Bio Group’s business environment may be significantly affected by new technological innovation and new entrants. Therefore, there is no guarantee that the ongoing R&D activities will always bear expected fruits and there is a possibility of not being able to achieve expected revenues.

(8) Risks concerning intellectual property rights

In biotechnology-related industries, where the success of business depends solely on the success of R&D activities, the Takara Bio Group protects technologies developed in-house with patents to prevent competitors from imitating them. The Takara Bio Group will continue placing the highest priority on applying for and obtaining patents in its R&D activities. Not all applications are registered, however, and if a registered patent is made invalid or lapses, the Takara Bio Group’s business strategy or business performance may be affected. Also, in future business operations, the Takara Bio Group is willing to acquire or buy licenses for necessary patent rights held by third parties, but this strategy may be prohibitively expensive. Further, if some patent right held by a third party becomes necessary and the Takara Bio Group is not able to acquire the license, it may affect the Group’s business strategy and performance.

(9) Risks concerning impairment losses of fixed assets

The Group owns significant amounts of tangible and intangible fixed assets, including goodwill. If impairment losses are recorded in accordance with accounting standards for impairment of fixed assets due to sudden changes in the business environment or other factors, such losses may adversely affect the Group’s business performance and financial position. The Group has set a rule in which certain investments must be approved by the Board of Directors or other body. For the assessment of investment effectiveness, the Group has set hurdles based on the NPV method and verifies its progress every fiscal year. The Group has also established a system for early detection of signs of impairment.

(10) Risks concerning fluctuations in exchange rates

Local currency-denominated items, including sales, expenses, and asset and liability accounts are translated into Japanese yen for the purpose of the preparation of the consolidated financial statements. The amount of these items recorded in the financial statements may be affected by the exchange rate at translation. When purchasing goods through import, procuring raw materials, or exporting products in a foreign currency, fluctuations in exchange rates may adversely affect the Group’s business performance and financial position. The Group uses currency options, enters into foreign currency forward contracts, and uses other exchange rate hedging transactions to minimize the adverse effects caused by short-to-medium-term fluctuations in exchange rates. The Group also holds positions in foreign currency transactions in which profits and losses offset each other regardless of whether the yen depreciates or appreciates.

(11) Risks concerning product liability

All of the products developed and manufactured by the Group are exposed to the risk of product liability compensation. If any defect is found during the manufacturing, selling, or clinical testing process, or any health impairment is caused by an alcoholic beverage, food, drug, medical instrument, regenerative medical products, or investigational drugs for clinical trial materials in particular, the Group may be subject to a product liability claim. A defect that results in large-scale product recalls or product liability compensation could not only cause a huge financial cost but also substantially affect the Group’s reputation, business performance, and financial position. Despite possessing product liability insurance in preparation for these risks, there is no guarantee that the insurance will be able to cover the full amount of the final compensation. In addition to compliance with laws and regulations, the Group is working to establish thorough quality control and risk management systems. Takara Shuzo voluntarily recalled some of the products it manufactures and markets, announcing it on May 20, 2021.

(12) Risks concerning information control and systems

The Group manages a vast amount of information, including personal information, making use of a number of IT systems related to its business operations. If the loss, leakage, or falsification of such personal and/or other internal information occurs, the Group could lose its credibility among the general public, in addition to business disruption and response costs. In addition, if it becomes impossible to conduct business operations for a certain period of time due to system malfunctions or cyber terrorism, the continuation of business activities may be adversely affected. These risks are expanding due to the advancement of digital transformation and the expansion of work-from-home. The Group has established "Information Management Regulations" and an "IT Security Policy" to strengthen measures against risks.

(13) Risks concerning lawsuits

The Group strives to observe all the laws and regulations relevant to its business operations by enhancing its compliance measures. However, as the Group conducts its business both within and outside Japan, there remains a risk of a third party filing a suit over such issues as the Product Liability Law, intellectual property rights, or a claim for compensation for an invention irrespective of whether or not the Group or its employees have violated any law. If a court case were to be brought against the Group, or if the court decision were to go against the Group, the Group’s business performance and financial position may be adversely affected. The Group thoroughly complies with laws and regulations and has established a system to receive advice and checks from the legal department and external experts when concluding important contracts.

(14) Risks concerning natural disasters

The business activities of the Group may be obstructed by physical and human damage resulting from natural disasters such as storms, earthquakes, lightning, and floods, accidents such as fire, and the global pandemic of infectious diseases. Taking into account such risks, the Group strives to conduct inspections and training and improve its contact system and business continuity plan (BCP) in order to minimize the spread of damage in the event of disaster.

(15) Prolongation of the COVID-19 pandemic

In its business performance forecasts for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2022, the Group has assumed that the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic will continue for a certain period. If the situation continues for longer than assumed, it could have a major impact, mainly in the Japanese Food Wholesale Business in overseas markets, whose core customers are in the restaurant industry. Taking advantage of the strengths of the Group, in which multiple independent businesses are being developed globally, the Group is working to thoroughly cut costs and diversify sales channels with the aim of achieving its profit plans even amid the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition to securing sufficient cash on hand for business continuity in the event of an emergency, the Group is also working on strengthening infection prevention measures and on the establishment and promotion of work-from home systems at individual sites. The Company’s Risk Compliance Committee chaired by the President of the Company is responsible for overall risk control of the Group. Under the supervision of the committee, each division in charge is engaged in activities to prevent and mitigate risks surrounding the Group concerning law and social ethics, product safety and quality, and health and safety, among others.