The industry ministry will draw up a comprehensive policy package to strengthen public support for the succession of small businesses to those other than relatives of their current owners, officials have said.
A lack of business successors is becoming serious, particularly in rural areas where the populations are aging and decreasing fast.
According to the ministry, 2.45 million owners of small businesses will be 70 years old or above by 2025. Half of them have not found a close relative or a successor to take over their business.
Without successors small companies, even profitable ones, will have little choice but to discontinue business when their aged owners retire.
The ministry will reflect the planned policy package in its budget and tax reform requests for fiscal 2020, according to the officials.
The package is expected to include subsidies for months-long trial employment of successor candidates and tax relief for profits on share sales by business owners to those other than their relatives.
The ministry will also help improve company information databases at the public centers for business succession support in all prefectures, in order to strengthen their capacity of matching companies with potential new owners.
Furthermore, a system to financially assist the termination of loss-making operations is under consideration, as is a hike in subsidies for innovative projects after business succession.