Bangladesh has beaten competition from India, Indonesia and Myanmar to grab the second slot, next only to China, in Japan's $26.5 billion apparels and accessories market.
Exports of Bangladeshi apparels to Japan saw 140 percent growth last year as Japanese importers further increased their sourcing from Bangladesh.
Quoting a Japan ministry of finance report, officials at the Japan-Bangladesh Chamber of Commerce and Industry (JBCCI) told New Age newspaper that in 2009, $125 million worth of apparels had been shipped from Bangladesh to Japan against shipment worth $52 million in 2008.
Annisul Huq, JBCCI co-chairman, said: "The Japanese are coming to source more from Bangladesh in recent times while Bangladeshi exporters are actively trying to explore new markets."
Takashi Suzuki, representative in Bangladesh for the Japan External Trade Organisation, said the "China factor" was playing a major role in swelling the growth of Bangladesh's apparel exports to Japan.
Imported apparel market in Japan used to be dominated by China, but Japanese importers are now looking out for one more dependable source to reduce their reliance on China.
"Bangladesh has much potential as cost of garment production is lower here," said Suzuki.
Industry watchers said Bangladesh's garment shipments to Japan started to swell in the middle of last year after the Japanese retail giant Uniqlo opened a sourcing office in Dhaka, prompting many other Japanese retailers to set their sights on Bangladesh.
"The Japanese are now convinced that having decades of experience in supplying to the vast EU and US markets, Bangladesh's apparel industry is now skilled enough to cater to customers in other regions," said Suzuki.
The report showed that Japanese importers procured $26.5 billion worth of apparels and accessories from overseas sources with China having the lion's share of more than 80 percent of shipments.
Vietnam, Indonesia, Myanmar and India are the next significant sources for Japanese apparel importers, but the growth of apparel imports from Bangladesh has been stunning, industry analysts observed.