Bill in works to woo foreign firms to Japan

Kyodo News

The government will submit a bill to the Diet next year that would give foreign firms preferential treatment if they establish headquarters or research centers in Japan.

The move is part of an attempt to make Japan more attractive to foreign investment ahead of negotiations on a multilateral trans-Pacific free-trade agreement backed by the United States. The FTA is aimed at completely liberalizing trade and investment.

Measures that could end up in the bill include subsidies for foreign firms that set up headquarters or research centers in Japan, income tax exemptions or cuts for limited periods, preferential treatment on residency status for employees of firms that invest in Japan, and easing of regulations at distribution-related facilities, such as ports and airports.

The bill is set to be outlined by the end of the year, given the number of foreign firms moving their Asian headquarters to competitors like South Korea and Singapore, which are enthusiastically wooing European and American firms.

The bill is being prepared by the ruling Democratic Party of Japan’s project team to promote economic stimulus measures and growth strategy, headed by former trade minister Masayuki Naoshima.