The top food and drink companies in Japanfeature among the top companies in the world. Although some names are recognisedinternationally, such as Ajinomoto and Suntory, many Japanese companies have notestablished themselves in the west. Nevertheless the influence on the west of the Japanesefood and beverage industry is significant. This is for two main reasons. One reason isthat Japan is an important importer of food and drink; the other is that Japan is a vitalsource of new product ideas. In the past Japan has invented cup noodles, draft beer incans and the original concept of functional foods and drinks. Japan still leads the worldin this exciting new market.