Bayer says that it will expand its business in Japan, "despite the difficult conditions following the earthquake and tsunami disaster" and expects solid sales growth in the coming years.

Chairman Marijn Dekkers, speaking at a news conference held in Tokyo to mark the centenary of Bayer's Japanese subsidiary, said the country "has been and continues to be one of the world’s most attractive markets" for  the German group. In the first six months of 2011, Bayer had sales of more than 1 billion euros in Japan, a 4.6% rise excluding currency and portfolio effects.

Dr Dekkers believes that over the next five years, "we plan to grow by an average of about 6% a year (adjusting for currency and portfolio effects) and raise sales to around 2.4 billion euros by 2015." He added that Bayer's R&D spend in Japan will "continue at a high level, totalling more than 500 million euros over the same period".__

In terms of pharmaceuticals, which account for the largest share of Bayer's business in Japan, the company currently has 28 products in Phase II or III clinical studies. It has also submitted applications to the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare for marketing approval for Xarelto (rivaroxaban) in the prevention of stroke in patients with atrial fibrillation and for VEGF Trap-Eye (aflibercept) for wet age-related macular degeneration.

___Dr Dekkers claimed that "Japan is more than just a market to us", saying that "this country is known for its strong innovative drive". He also addressed the consequences of the earthquake and tsunami in March, saying that  "I am convinced that Japan will not only recover but will emerge from the disaster even stronger than before".__

Dr Dekkers also announced that the firm will provide 700,000 euros for a long-term reconstruction project in the earthquake zone, bringing to 2.3 million euros the amount it has  donated in relief aid.