Japan has the ingredients for becoming the world leader in whisky in the next decade. This is true in light of recent news that Japan now rivals Scotland in the whisky market in both volume and taste. Investors are also getting on this trend, as Jim Beam was recently acquired by a Japanese whisky company.
As an American invention, it is only naturally that the US has historically been the world leader in Whisky production, both in quantity and in prestige of quality. On the other hand, ever since its entrance into the modern global world, Japan has proven itself to be more than capable of taking foreign technology and/or products and improving them. Still, though, it's inconceivable that Japan should overtake the US in Whisky production.
I do not think that Japan will ever become a world leader of whiskey because the most popular whiskey is American made like Jim Bean, Wild Turkey and Jack Daniels. Japanese whiskeys are not popular amongst Americans, American i think will stick to buying popular American whiskey brands,Japanese whiskey is only popular in Japan.
There is too much heritage in Canadian, American and European whiskey for any other entrants to make a strong case. However, the Japanese have always been very strong innovators, and it would be surprising if their distillers didn't come up with something interesting for the world to enjoy. It won't make a Japan a leader over the next decade though.