“A fair and transparent landscape for all” - How Japanese product media and distributor J Passport aims to benefits customers and businesses

Yuki Ohata considers herself a trailblazing and tech-savvy businesswoman.

The CEO and founder of REGINAA Pte. Ltd., a Singapore-based mobile marketing agency helping retail outlets in Singapore and the region, Yuki is certainly no stranger when it comes to the entrepreneurial scene in Singapore and the Asia-Pacific region. After all, she has been calling Singapore home for the past twelve years.

When I asked Yuki why she decided to move to Singapore in 2011, she replied as a matter of fact that the Tohoku earthquake and subsequent economic fallout back in her native Japan that year prompted her to look abroad for greener economic pastures.

Southeast Asia seemed like a good avenue for Yuki to explore opportunities in the region, given its relative proximity to Japan as well as rising demand for Japanese products and services among consumers in the region.

At that time, Yuki had already built a business raking in US$1 million in yearly revenue within three years as a mobile tech startup board member in Tokyo. Moreover, she was already serving as Sales Head in her previous company’s Japan office, providing location-based mobile marketing solutions for Japanese telecom firms NTT DoCoMo and Softbank, brands some Singaporeans are already familiar with

Having said that, it was Yuki’s desire to step out of her comfort zone and her maiden visit to Singapore that made her fall in love with this bustling island.

I was walking around Central Singapore at night when I saw the stunning night view of the Marina Bay Sands Hotel. I told myself I had to come back and live in Singapore,” she quipped.

A couple of months later, Yuki relocated her life to Singapore, and on 16 November 2011, REGINAA Pte. Ltd. was born.

Curious, I asked Yuki about the origins of her company name, REGINAA.

Regina’ refers to ‘queen’ in the Latin language, so I chose this name and added an ‘a’ at the back as I wanted my business to be ‘Queen of Asia’,” Yuki divulged.

“My strength lies in capturing new markets, as well as marketing and selling new products. Back then in 2011, I saw the potential for Japanese products and cuisine like ramen and tonkatsu Singapore, as there was a budding demand for them here,” she continued.

“Over the years, REGINAA has been able to value-add to our Japanese clients looking to expand their businesses in Singapore and the region, via our technology-enabled mobile marketing solutions. For instance, 10 years ago, Tanjong Pagar was not the same as it is now. Today, there are way more Japanese restaurants and retail options for local consumers,” Yuki pointed out.

True enough, REGINAA focuses on marketing and digital media within the Japanese and Singaporean sectors of food and beverage (F&B), retail, services, and start-ups and aims to dominate these sectors in Singapore and Southeast Asia by offering customers retail shopping options via mobile devices and technology. Utilizing mobile Online to Offline (O2O) membership programs, customer relationship management (CRM) tools, loyalty card, retail store mobile apps as well as its own in-house media planning and management. REGINAA is a force to be reckoned with, with a global team located in Singapore, Indonesia, Vietnam, Thailand, Hongkong, and China. In short, REGINAA’s role is to identify the strengths of Japanese businesses such as restaurants looking to expand their operations before marketing and distributing such information to consumers in Singapore and in the region.

The company’s media arm, J PassportExternal site: a new window will open., is an exclusive site that serves as a Japanese product and service distributor to members to provide them with a “truly authentic Japanese experience”, as Yuki herself calls it.

Members receive updates about the latest Japanese products and promotions via electronic direct mailers (EDMs), social media marketing and the well-organized and user-friendly J Passport mobile site itself depicting an assortment of Japanese products, including “new arrivals” and “bestsellers”.


“I want people to know REGINAA and J Passport for three reasons, namely, our reliance on data-based and tech-savvy mobile marketing solutions, our cross-border e-commerce operations, as well as our aim to offer customers a ‘truly authentic Japanese experience’,” Yuki declared.

“We don’t simply work with any Japanese business. Rather, we only work with reliable businesses that can, as I have mentioned before, offer our customers quality and ‘truly authentic Japanese experiences’,” she asserted.

Notably, J Passport has a fascinating section showcasing the platform’s collaboration with Japanese government prefectures and offering unique prefecture specials that consumers in Singapore can obtain locally.

As someone with a sweet tooth, what caught my fancy after a brief browse of this section were the steamed cake with fresh milk creamExternal site: a new window will open. from Shizuoka Prefecture, the delicious-looking Hokkaido Black CheesecakeExternal site: a new window will open. , the Strawberry Amazake SmoothieExternal site: a new window will open. from Nagano Prefecture and the Yukigamine Milk Melted Chocolate Soft Roll CakeExternal site: a new window will open. from Kochi Prefecture.


Indeed, thanks to J Passport, we can enjoy quality Japanese products at our doorstep in Singapore.

Years of hard work in sourcing for business opportunities, building networks and catering to customer demands has certainly gone a long way for Yuki.

As of the time of writing, REGINAA has amassed a robust network of more than 500 specialty Japanese brands in Singapore and a tightly knit community of Japanese product lovers featuring over 450,000 active members or 9% of Singapore's population. Also, more than 30 Japanese brands are presently using J Passport to reach thousands of users in Singapore, including Hokkaido Ramen Santouka, Gyu-Kaku, and Rive Gauche Patisserie, just to name a few.

Yet the road towards success was not always smooth sailing for Yuki and her business ventures.

For one, the COVID-19 outbreak in 2020 and ensuing government lockdowns in Singapore and the rest of the world proved to be a litmus test of REGINAA’s resilience in responding to market conditions and consumer demands.

“The COVID-19 era was a particularly challenging period for REGINAA,” Yuki acknowledged.

“We could not use tried-and-tested business strategies concentrating primarily on the F&B industry that we had relied on for the past decade. Rather, the challenge for REGINAA was to use technology to respond appropriately to changes in consumer spending patterns, such as the shift towards online shopping.”

Hence, Yuki had to crack her brains to address rapidly shifting consumer behavior patterns owing to COVID-19 lockdowns and economic uncertainties for the F&B industry.

Online shopping and online deliveries became the norm during COVID-19,” Yuki said. “Thus, REGINAA had to adjust quickly to capture such consumer demand and to ensure that our clients remain in business.”

In fact, the COVID-19 outbreak and subsequent lockdown saw REGINAA launching a sophisticated array of Japanese products for private J Passport membersExternal site: a new window will open., featuring high-quality Japanese products, ranging from fresh sushi and sashimi, to premium artisan brands. This exclusive, member-only sectionExternal site: a new window will open. purports to offer unique and exclusive artisan experiences to Japanese lovers in Singapore.

All products can be purchased online, thus enabling REGINAA to cater to changes in consumer spending patterns and keep afloat via revenues obtained from restaurant advertisements, product sales, as well as Japanese government funding.

Not one to let setbacks deter her, Yuki credits her resilience to her background as a national gymnastics champion in Japan when she was 14 years old.

“I have visited many countries for competitions or camps during my time in the Japan national team. This experience shaped me to develop an athlete mindset as well as how to take care of myself physically and mentally. Besides, hard work, a key factor for any entrepreneurial success, has enabled me to transform my business dreams into reality,” she disclosed.

Along with the Japanese government, REGINAA (via J Passport) hopes to enlarge the reach of high-quality crafted brands by breaking down barriers and borders across the globe. The company relies on a Japan-developed customer relationship management (CRM) system, known as REGINAA’s Mobile Marketing, that informs Japanese business partners about consumer shopping behaviors and needs.

As for business plans in 2024, Yuki conceded that the challenge awaiting REGINAA would be how to align her business strategies to market demands, as well as maximize J Passport to promote more aspects of Japan, including having a fascinating section about travel.

"Many of my friends Singaporeans and Southeast Asians in general enjoy Japan, and would like to visit it when they can, so J Passport strives to be a one-stop destination where they can find interesting and useful travel information to help them plan their visits,” Yuki declared.

“Furthermore, my wish for 2024 would be that J Passport can be a platform with a high degree of ‘transparency’ in terms of prices, product quality and returns for Japanese businesses,” she elaborated.

“I hope customers can get quality Japanese products at fair prices, while businesses can obtain fair returns by working with J Passport.”

Apart from Asian countries, REGINAA hopes to expand into the US and Europe in the future when opportunity permits.

“We shall see what the future holds,” Yuki mused on a chirpy note. “Meanwhile, we just focus on making customers and businesses happy.”


Everything you need to know about REGINAA and J Passport is available here below:
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