For foreign entrepreneurs, Japan has never been the easiest place to launch a startup for a number of reasons, including its conservative corporate culture, restrictive visa requirements and daunting language barrier.

Well aware it may be failing to attract businesspeople who can spark the economy, the central government is gradually teaming up with local governments to create an environment more friendly to people who want to live and do business in Japan.

Belgian-born Van David Thai, a 35-year-old manager of a retailer in Tokyo, lamented having to deal with procedures in Japanese, even those ostensibly geared to visitors.