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Useful Resources for Foreign Investors

Sep 29, 2014

The benefits of inward investment

The Government of Japan has recognized the wide-reaching benefits of inward investment. Over the last several years, it has made efforts to promote Japan as an attractive business destination for foreign companies. To that end, they’ve also decided to provide useful resources for foreign investors.

In March 2003, the Japan Investment Council (JIC) recognized that foreign investment was at an extremely low level. Following a report from the JIC Expert Committee, the JIC adopted a resolution to implement 74 concrete measures. These had a view of doubling the amount of foreign direct investment within the following five years.

Progress on the above goals has been consistently monitored. The Government was successful in significantly boosting the amount of foreign direct investment.

Useful measures

Since this program was implemented in 2003, the JIC Expert Committee made several other recommendations that were adopted by the Government. They recommended to adjust and accelerate progress towards the above goals. The structure of the program has been amended, although the original goals for increased investment remain in place. 

One of the useful resources for foreign investors that was implemented was to “translate into English various types of information on investment procedures, such as those related to the establishment of corporations, M&As, and the establishment of plants and store outlets, and set up a single contact point in the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) for access to such information. To complement its services, each ministry or institution related to investment should set up its own contact point that can indicate the division in charge of a particular procedure, and create a website where investors can obtain necessary information.”

Helpful organizations

It is likely that many foreign investors are aware of (and make use of) the many services offered by JETRO. These include consultation and information provision of various aspects of doing business in Japan and providing free temporary office space. Another useful source of information is the Invest Japan Office, which was established by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry in accordance with the above strategy. Invest Japan Offices can be found in each METI regional bureau (and in the Economy, Trade and Industry Department of the Okinawa General Bureau) and provide a number of valuable services including responses to the following requests and inquiries*:

  • Requests for investment information, such as market information and investment policies,
  • Requests for guidance on licensing application procedures related to investments,
  • Complaints about the handling of inquiries under the procedure for prior confirmation of application of investment-related laws (the so-called No-Action Letter system), and
  • Other investment inquiries.

Inquiries can be made via any of the usual means, including direct visits to the Invest Japan Offices. They indicate that they usually respond to queries within ten days of its acceptance. *this, and more information can be found on the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry website: http://www.meti.go.jp/english/policy/external_economy/investment/office.html

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