The Japanese government at various levels offers subsidies to support SMEs. JETRO provides an overview of the programmes in place.
Disaster recovery related subsidy programmes
Since the tsunami and nuclear disaster in Fukushima in 2011, national subsidies have been available to promote new business establishment and job creation in the affected areas. The programmes are managed by METI’s Regional Industrial Infrastructure Division.
Local government incentives for foreign companies
Quite a few local government entities offer incentives especially for foreign companies to entice them to establish a business presence. JETRO provides a list of these programs. The programs listed there are exclusively for foreign companies, there are also support programmes for which both Japanese and foreign companies are eligible.
Special Economic Districts (“Tokku)
Japan also has a system of “National Strategic Special Districts”or “tokku” for short. The system allows governments in those districts to diverge from national laws and regulations and offer additional incentives to promote certain policy goals such as increased direct foreign investment. The Cabinet Office provides an outline of the various types of special zones in the country. Tokyo is also designated as a tokku and provides comprehensive information with measures to attract foreign investment.