Japanese Patent Grant Rate is Very High!
It had been said that the JPO’s examination is very strict and that the rate of Decision to Grant in Japan should be low. If you still think so, you are not updated on the Japanese patent situation over 10 years.
The JPO publishes an annual report every year, and according to the latest report in 2018, the rate of Decision to Grant in the year of 2017 was 74.6%!
I believe the value of “74.6%” is much higher than you expected, and actually, the rate in Japan is higher than the other countries grant rates: 71.9% (US); 57.1% (EP); 56.4% (China); and 63.1% (Korea) in 2017. *The “grant rate” in each country is defined as shown IP5 Statistics Report.
I meet and talk with many overseas associates, who are familiar with Japanese patent matters, but even for them, the grant rate in Japan appears to be much lower than it actually is.
I hope the information will be of some help to you when you consider filing a PCT national phase application into Japan.
*Follow up on July 12, 2019: The Japan Patent Office released an annual report 2019 and the grant rate in 2018 was 75.3%!