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Measures to promote foreign direct investment in Japan


Attracting foreign companies and capital to Japan will increase the inflow opportunities of superior technologies and new expertise, promoting innovation and the creation of high-value-added accumulated technologies. Regarding trends in Japan’s inward direct investment, from 2001 to 2008 the amount of inward direct investment position has grown gradually. Recently, however, it has been flat due to the global financial crisis and Tohoku earthquake.

Given these circumstances, in 2013, the Japanese government decided to both develop an environment where all companies and human resources may enjoy the benefits of the global economy and to facilitate full-fledged globalization in Japan in order to attract outstanding overseas human talent and technologies in order to create employment and spur innovation. It also aims to double inward FDI stock to 35 trillion yen by 2020 (17.8 trillion yen at the end of 2012).

Overview of the measures

「Japan Revitalization Strategy-JAPAN is BACK-」(June 14, 2013)(extract)

○ Fundamental reform of Special Zone system

・ The government will create the world’s best business environment for companies to operate using “National Strategic Special Zones” to further attract foreign funds and technologies. These environmental improvements will encourage Japanese-affiliated companies transferred overseas to return back to Japan.

○ Drastically strengthening the government’s capability for attracting foreign companies and its support framework

・ In order to identify and attract promising foreign companies from the perspective of their executives and in alignment with their specific business strategies, the government will strengthen the function of JETRO’s industry specialist function and develop support measures for global companies.

・ JETRO will enhance its comprehensive support system for foreign

enterprises, such as receiving inquiries and giving consultation regarding procedures required for FDI into Japan, receiving requests for regulatory reform and giving assistance on individual case in cooperation with relevant ministries and agencies.

○ Creating and reinforcing the framework to attract more international conferences, etc. (MICE)

○ Utilizing highly skilled overseas personnel

*MICE(Meeting, Incentive, Convention, Event/Exhibition)

In order to attract R&D centers and Asian headquarters of global companies, METI will take incentive measures, such as tax incentives to certified companies in accordance with laws and location subsidies. It also collaborates with such measures as the special zone system and improvement of the living environment of foreigners.

Act on Promotion to Make Japan an Asian Business Center

The following incentives are applicable to new R&D and headquarters operations conducted in Japan by global companies certified by the competent minister.

  1. Income tax breaks (preferential tax treatment for stock options from the foreign parent company)
  2. Assistance for fund raising (Assistance for fund raising by the Small and Medium Business Investment & Consultation Co., Ltd.)
  3. Acceleration of patent examinations (Acceleration of examinations and proceedings for patent applications)
  4. Reduction of patent fees (50 % reduction of examination fees and patent fees for patent inventions)
  5. Shortened investment procedures (Shortened examination period for prior notification for inward direct investment in regulated industries)
  6. Acceleration of status of residency examinations (Acceleration of entry examinations for the Certificate of Eligibility for Status of Residence applied for by foreign nationals who intend to work in Japan)

Review of the points-based system that provides highly skilled foreign professionals with preferential immigration treatment

In order to promote entry of highly skilled foreign professionals who are expected to bring innovation to the Japanese industries, a points-based system that provides highly skilled foreign professionals with preferential immigration treatment was introduced. Recently, the requirements for receiving preferential treatment (annual salary, and other) were eased, and the nature of the preferential treatment (permission for bringing parent, and other) were revised. For details, please visit the Ministry of Justice website.

Information of other measures

Division in Charge

Trade and Investment Facilitation Division, Trade and Economic Cooperation Bureau

Last updated:2015-06-29