Japan has long been an important export market for Chronicle Books. Now the San Francisco-based publisher has inked an agreement to launch Chronicle Books Japan.

Chronicle, expecting to see sales in the country rise over the next few years, teamed with Top Partners on the new division. Top Partners is owned by the same company that operates Tsutaya Mega Bookstores, one of Japan’s largest bookstore chains.

According to Chronicle president Jack Jensen, executives at Tsutaya noticed that Chronicle products were selling well at their stores. This spurred the Japanese company to float the idea of a partnership.

Through the deal, as many as 25 branded Chronicle Books Japan boutiques will open in Tsutaya stores by the end of the year. Each location will offer about 500 Chronicle products, with nearly 80% of the inventory being gift and stationery items. The remaining 20% of the inventory will be books. According to Jensen, most of the books in the branded stores will be heavily illustrated, and some will be translated into Japanese. Plans also call for a standalone Chronicle Books Japan micro-store to open in Tokyo this summer.

As part of the agreement with Top Partners, the company has the right to distribute Chronicle titles to all bookstores throughout Japan.