Where We Fly
Zipline Takes Off In Japan!
Team Zipline
April 21, 2022

An archipelago of 140 islands in Japan is home to nearly 75,000. As of today, it’s also another home for Zipline’s transformative instant logistics system.

In 2018, Zipline developed a partnership with Toyota Tsusho, a part of the Toyota Group that operates in 120 countries around the world. Toyota Tsusho is a nearly 100-year-old subsidiary of one of the world’s largest corporations. Zipline is a barely 10-year-old startup. But underneath these differences is a deep shared commitment to enhancing quality of life. As Toyota Tsusho’s three fields of focus articulate it, a commitment to improving mobility–contributing to future convenient societies, resources and environment–ensuring sustainable societies, and life and community–supporting comfortable and healthy lifestyles.

Zipline and Toyota Tsusho first partnered in Ghana, where Zipline delivers medical products from Gokals-Laborex Limited — Toyota Tsusho Group’s pharmaceutical distributor — to hospitals across the country. Today, we took the next step in our partnership to sustainably offer more humans access to the goods they need, when they need them: serving the people of the Goto islands with automated, on-demand delivery of medical products.

Toyota Tsusho, via Sora-iina, a subsidiary company created to conduct these operations, will manage its own distribution center and flight services from Fukue Port. Sora-iina’s Gotō distribution center will be the first in Asia and 14th in the world to operate Zipline’s autonomous instant logistics service, as well as the first in the world to be operated by a partner.

Utilizing Zipline’s end-to-end instant logistics system, Sora-iina will manage and distribute medical supplies to pharmacies and hospitals across the Gotō Islands, including to remote and isolated areas. These operations include initial beyond visual line of site flights of nearly 40 kilometers. They are capable of serving pharmacies, hospitals and homes across hundreds of islands within a 23,000 sq km service area and reducing carbon emissions up to 98% compared to delivery by car.

“The Toyota Group has a decades-long track record of excellence across transportation and logistics; now, they’re ready to take on the next frontier of mobility,” said Keller Rinaudo Cliffton, co-founder and CEO of Zipline. “Together, we’re taking an important step toward unlocking the impact of autonomous instant logistics technology in new use cases, new airspaces and entirely new geographies.”