Incentive Programs

To facilitate investment in Japan, the government offers appealing incentives, as well as operating single contact points in relevant ministries and agencies for inquires/support regarding doing business in Japan.Local governments also offer various incentives and support exclusively for foreign-affiliated companies and foreign companies that are planning to open an office in their region.

The following shows incentives relevant to overseas/foreign-affiliated companies.

Incentives for promoting investment in Japan
Title Overview Eligible Costs Subsidy Rates and Maximum Amount Application Period Organization in Charge
Subsidy Program for Global Innovation Centers This subsidy program subsidizes the cost of companies from overseas for setting up innovation centers, experimental studies and feasibility studies (F/S) with respect to regenerative medicine or IoT in collaboration with Japanese companies and other organizations in Japan with the aim of drawing investments and excellent management resources from overseas by promoting location of high-value-added sections of overseas companies such as R&D facilities, and making Japan a high value-added hub and innovation base for global value chains.
  1. Establishment of Global Innovation Centers (Design, facility purchase and rental, equipment and machinery, construction, surveying and tests, etc.)
  2. Experimental Studies (costs for researchers’ employment, business trips, outsourcing, tests, interpretation and translation, equipment and machinery, etc.)
  3. Feasibility Studies (costs for researchers’ employment, business trips, outsourcing, etc.)
  1. Up to one-third
  2. Up to two-thirds
  3. Fixed amount(up to JPY 10 million)

February 16, 2016 to October 14, 2016 (12: 00 p.m. Japan Time)

Period for Acceptance of Application Forms: (Fifth screening) October 14, 2016)
*Application period is extended.

Invest Japan Department,  JETRO

Tax incentives for companies that relocate their headquarters from the 23 wards in Tokyo to other regions, or that enhance and expand the function of their headquarters in those regions

Enhancing/expanding headquarters of companies in local regions Relocation from 23 wards in Tokyo
Target regions for support Regions other than Tokyo Metropolitan Area, central Chubu region (Nagoya area) and central Kinki region (Osaka area)
Employment promotion taxation
  1. Tax credit equivalent to the increased number of the employees multiplied by 500,000 JPY* when the requirement is met
    *In addition to the tax credit of 400,000 JPY from the existing tax system, 100,000 JPY is added to the amount under the special provision.
  2. Tax credit of 200,000 JPY per new employee is applicable even if the increase in the number of employees of a corporation as a whole is less than 10% from the previous term
  1. Tax credit of up to 800,000 JPY * per new employee
    *In addition to the tax credit of 500,000 JPY for expansion, 300,000 JPY is added to the amount.
  2. In the above case, tax credit of 300,000 JPY continues up to three years if the employment is maintained.
  3. The above provision 2 is applicable to employees relocated from Tokyo to local regions, even if there is no increase in the overall employment of the company.
Tax credit for office acquisition 15% for special depreciation or 4% for tax credit (for two years) 25% for special depreciation or 7% for tax credit (for two years)
Compensation for decreased local tax revenue Partial compensation for decreased tax revenue of local governments through local tax grants when these governments take tax reduction measures related to property tax and real estate acquisition tax Partial compensation for decreased tax revenue of local governments through local tax grants when these governments take tax reduction measures related to property tax, real estate acquisition tax and business tax
Detailed information

FY2015 Japan Tax Reform(March,2015)External site: a new window will open.(Please refer the page 8.)

Incentives regarding Special Zones

Title Overview The Competent Authorities
National Strategic Special ZonePDF file(228KB)  Special regulatory measures, tax treatment (for corporate income tax), and financial/monetary support are available for companies with business plans in National Strategic Special Zones. Office forRegional Revitalization Promotion, Cabinet OfficeExternal site: a new window will open.
*Japanese only
Comprehensive Special ZonesPDF file(358KB)  Special regulatory measures, tax treatment (for corporate income tax), and financial/monetary support are available for companies with business plans in designated zones. CSZs have two types: those for international competitiveness and those for local revitalization. CSZs aim at providing tailored, integrated support for comprehensive and strategic challenges in selected regions. Office for Regional Revitalization Promotion, Cabinet OfficeExternal site: a new window will open.
*Japanese only
Special Zones for ReconstructionPDF file(250KB)  Special measures such as deregulation, tax incentives, etc. are available for companies with business plans in disaster afflicted areas. Reconstruction AgencyExternal site: a new window will open.
Title Overview Applicable Facilities Tax incentives Applicable Period The Competent Authorities
Tax incentives to promote capital investment to improve production efficiencyPDF file(394KB)   Tax incentives for corporations to promote capital investment in cutting-edge facilities to improve production efficiency “Cutting-edge facilities” and “facilities contributing to improving production lines and operations”
  1. Immediate depreciation of assets or tax credit of up to 5%
  2. Special depreciation of 50% of assets or tax credit of 4%
  1. From January 20, 2014 until the end of March 2016
  2. From April 1, 2016 until the end of March, 2017
Hotline for consultation regarding productivity improvement taxExternal site: a new window will open. (METI) *Japanese only

Tax credit for research and development (R&D) expenses

Title Overview Note The Competent Authorities

R&D tax incentivesPDF file(138KB) 
*View Section 3 of the PDF

Tax incentives through which a certain rate of R&D expenses conducted by private companies as part of their business activities can be deducted from their corporate tax (national tax) of the relevant fiscal year. Four types of tax incentives are provided under “R&D tax system.”

In the revision in 2015PDF file(837KB) , the incentive was drastically enhanced to promote open innovation of companies
- Significant increase of the deduction rate
- Combining incentives for “the aggregate amount-type system” and “open innovation-type system” to set a deduction upper limit of 30% of corporate tax
- Expanding the scope of subject expenses (e.g., making it possible to record usage fees for the intellectual properties of SMEs as special R&D expenses)

Innovation and Industry-University Collaboration Division, Industrial Science and Technology Policy and Environment Bureau, METIExternal site: a new window will open.
*Japanese only

Immigration Treatment Incentive

Title Overview Note The Competent Authorities

Points-based preferential immigration treatment for highly skilled foreign professionalsExternal site: a new window will open.

 

Commentary by JETRO
(February 3, 2014)

Under the points-based system, foreign professionals who earn 70 points or more will be recognized as "highly skilled foreign professionals" and will be given preferential immigration treatment.

Recent changes of the treatmentExternal site: a new window will open.

  • -Easing certification requirements of “Point-based System for Highly Skilled Foreign Professionals” (December 2013) (e.g., criteria of annual salary, research activities, etc.)
  • - Creating a new residence status allowing indefinite period of stay for highly skilled foreign professionals (legislation enacted in June 2014, enforced in April 2015)
Foreign Residents Information Center, Immigration Bureau, Ministry of JusticeExternal site: a new window will open.

Government Subsidies

Title Subsidized Projects Eligible Costs Subsidy Rates/
Maximum Amount
Application Period/
Selected Projects
The Competent Authorities

Subsidy Program for New Business Establishment in the Areas Recovering from Tsunami and Nuclear Disaster towards Employment Creation [ Manufacturing business site location support project ] (Sixth Offering of Subsidy)

Guidelines for Subsidy ApplicationPDF file(450KB) 

A subsidy program for establishment of new factories (manufacturing), distribution facilities, research laboratories, call centers, data centers and others, so as to activate the regional economy through employment creation in the areas within prefectures inundated by the tsunami and Tohoku Earthquake and the areas in Fukushima prefecture affected by the nuclear power station accident and where the evacuation order has been lifted. Initial expenditure for factory/facility location covering from acquisition of land to construction of buildings and installation of production equipment Rate of subsidy depends on the size of the enterprises making investment.
Subsidy up to 1/3 of the investment is offered for big businesses and up to 1/2 for SMEs.

[Maximum subsidy: 3 billion yen]
*For projects which are planned in the municipalities devastated by tsunami and are particularly highly evaluated by the third party committee set up for this incentive, the upper limit shall be placed at 5 billion yen.

From May 9,

until noon on

July 29, 2016

Industrial facilities Division, Regional Economic and Industrial Policy Group, METIExternal site: a new window will open.
*Japanese only

Prefectural and Municipal Incentives

Prefectures and Municipals have their own unique incentives. You can search on Regional Information.

Regional Information

Introduction of in-depth profile of Japan's local regions, covering all 47 prefectures and 29 major cities: major industries including size, features and R&D facilities; business climate including infrastructure, incentives, government support, and more.  More details


Incentives of local governments for foreign-affiliated companies

Prefecture/city Name of subsidies/incentives Incentives of local governments for foreign-affiliated companies
Fukushima Pref.

Subsidy for Investment Support Project for Foreign Corporations Entering into Fukushima Prefecture for BusinessExternal site: a new window will open.

Note: Japanese website only. English documents are available on the Japanese website.
Subsidizing portion of rent expenses, consultant commissioning fees, expenses required for incorporation (registration of corporation, acquisition of resident status, etc.) Eligible companies are those establishing facilities for manufacturing, R&D and/or sales in Fukushima Prefecture for the first time in the fields of pharmaceuticals, medical equipment, renewable energy and/or robotics (Subsidy rate of 3/4, with up to 28m yen per company)
Chiba Pref. Office Lease Subsidies for Foreign-Affiliated Companies in Chiba PrefectureExternal site: a new window will open. Subsidizing portion of rent for offices or other facilities (1/3 of annual rent x 1 year, maximum 600,000 yen for companies with a number of employees between 1- 5 and 1.8m yen for more than 5)
Chiba City

Facility Rent Subsidy for Foreign-Affiliated CompaniesExternal site: a new window will open.

Note: Japanese website only

Subsidizing portion of rent (1/2 of rent x 3 years, cumulative total limit of 3m yen), reduction of corporate inhabitant tax (municipal tax) (1/2 x 3 years)
Tokyo Metropolis Special Zone for Asian Headquarters SubsidyExternal site: a new window will open. Subsidizing portion of expenses related to the establishment of a new Asian regional headquarters or R&D center (up to 1/2 of actual expenses paid to experts such as administrative scriveners and recruitment agencies, maximum 5m yen per company)
Program to Increase Foreign EntrepreneursExternal site: a new window will open. Deregulation of a "business manager" visa requirement for foreign nationals wishing to start business in Tokyo (period of residence is 6 months)
Kanagawa Pref.

Select Kanagawa 100, Rent Subsidy External site: a new window will open.

View the PDF file "Select Kanagawa100 (English)"

Subsidizing portion of rent for factories, R&D centers or offices (1/3, maximum 6m yen) for foreign-affiliated companies reinvesting in Kanagawa
Shizuoka Pref. Office rent subsidy for foreign-affiliated or foreign companiesExternal site: a new window will open. Subsidizing portion of office rent (1/2 of monthly rent x 1 year, maximum 500,000 yen in total)
Niigata Pref.

Subsidy for Office Rent for Foreign-Affiliated CompaniesExternal site: a new window will open.

Note: Japanese website only

Subsidizing portion of rent (1/2 x 3 years, maximum 3m yen [up to 1m yen per year for 3 years])
Niigata City

Foreign company business promotion subsidyExternal site: a new window will open.

Note: View the PDF file "the Support for Setting Up Your Business in Niigata"

Subsidizing registration fees (maximum 150,000 yen per company) and rent (1/2 of monthly rent x 2 years, maximum 50,000 yen per month)

Niigata City National Strategic Special Zone - Entrepreneurial Incentives for ForeignersExternal site: a new window will open.

Note: Japanese website only

Deregulation of a "business manager" visa requirement for foreign nationals wishing to start business in Nigata City (period of residence is 6 months)
Aichi Pref. GNI Business Start-up Support ProgramExternal site: a new window will open. Subsidizing expenses for location and commencement of operations of foreign-affiliated companies in Greater Nagoya Area
(1. Consultation fees and expenses paid for specialists for company registration and visa applications 2. Expenses for personnel recruitment 3. Expenses for brokerage costs of an office).
Total amount of incentives (1, 2, 3 above) is as follows: (I)Foreign company whose prospective investment amount is more than 10 million yen : up to 500,000 yen; (II) more than 5 million yen and less than 10 million yen : up to 300,000 yen; and (III) less than 5 million yen : up to 200,000 yen.
Gifu Pref.
Mie Pref.
Nagoya City
Mie Pref. Subsidy for foreign affiliated enterprises planning to establish an Asian base in MieExternal site: a new window will open. Subsidizing 20% of depreciable assets invested by foreign-affiliated companies when establishing manufacturing bases (factories) (maximum 500m yen), subsidizing portion of office rent (1/2 x 3 years, maximum 5m yen per year)
Osaka Pref. Osaka Prefecture's Subsidies for Investment Promotion (Subsidy for Foreign-affiliated Companies)External site: a new window will open.

View the PDF file "3. Preferential Treatment System in Osaka"

Subsidizing portion of investment of foreign-affiliated companies establishing new corporate headquarters or Asian regional headquarters in Osaka Prefecture (5% of investment on building and capital goods or 1/3 of office rent, with limitation depending on number of full-time employees)

O-BIC Support Program for Foreign CompaniesExternal site: a new window will open.

Note: Japanese website only

Subsidizing expenses for registration (up to 100,000 yen per company) and acquisition of resident status (up to 50,000 yen per company)
Hyogo Pref.

Tax IncentivesExternal site: a new window will open.

View the PDF file "Best Portal Zone (English)"

Reduction of corporate enterprise tax (1/3×5 years)

Subsidies for Office RentExternal site: a new window will open.

View the PDF file "Best Portal Zone (English)"

Subsidizing portion of office rent (up to 1/2 x 3 years, maximum 1,500 yen/square meter per month and 2m yen per year)

Subsidies for New EmploymentExternal site: a new window will open.

View the PDF file "Best Portal Zone (English)"

Subsidies for new employment : 300,000 yen/person (In designated areas, 600,000 yen/person for new employment, 300,000 yen/person for new non-regular employment) (maximum 300m yen)

Subsidies for the Costs of Establishing a Japanese HeadquartersExternal site: a new window will open.

View the PDF file "Best Portal Zone (English)"

Subsidizing 1/2 of cost (cost for corporate registration: maximum 1m yen, costs for market research: 200,000 yen)

Kobe City Rental Assistance for Overseas Corporations and Foreign-Affiliated FirmsExternal site: a new window will open. [Hyogo Prefecture and Kobe city in partnership] Subsidizing portion of office rent (up to 1/2 x 3 years, maximum 1,500 yen/square meter per month and maximum 2m yen per year)
[Kobe city/additional subsidies] Subsidizing portion of office rent (up to 1/4 x 3 years, maximum 750 yen/square meter per month and maximum 9m yen per year)
Fukuoka Pref. Subsidy for Visit to Fukuoka Subsidizing portion of travel expenses by foreign-affiliated companies to or within Japan (eligible companies are those in fields of automobiles, IT, semiconductors, biotechnology, environment and robots, which are considering entry into Fukuoka Prefecture). 1. Travel from regions in Japan other than Fukuoka Prefecture: up to 100,000 yen per company 2. Travel from foreign countries other than Europe/America: 150,000 yen per company 3. Travel from Europe/America: up to 200,000 yen per company
Incentives to Encourage Establishment of its Subsidiary in Japan Subsidizing portion of registration fee (foreign-affiliated companies in fields of automobiles, IT, semiconductors, biotechnology, environment and robots; 1/2 of registration fee, maximum 150,000 yen)
Fukuoka City

Business Establishment Support Programs in Fukuoka City (for Foreign and Foreign Affiliated Enterprises)External site: a new window will open.

Note: Japanese website only

  1. Subsidizing portion of office rent [Basic type] (1/4 x 1 year, maximum 15m yen), [Large-scale type] (1/4 x 2 years, maximum 25m yen)
  2. Subsidies for new employment [Regular employment] 500,000 yen/person for citizens of Fukuoka City, 1m yen/person for researchers who are citizens of Fukuoka City [Other type of permanent employment] 150,000 yen/person for citizens of Fukuoka City, 50,000 yen for non-citizens of Fukuoka City (Maximum 50m yen)
  3. Subsidizing 1/2 of cost (cost for marketing research, interpretation fees, obtaining approvals and registering for licenses, or cost of recruiting employees) (Maximum 3m yen)
Office and Residential Rent Subsidy Program for Foreign Startups (FY2016)External site: a new window will open. Subsidizing portion of rent (1/2 x 1 year, maximum 70,000 yen per month for residence, maximum 50,000 yen per month for office space)
Startup Visa (Entrepreneurial Incentives for Foreigners)External site: a new window will open. Deregulation of a "business manager" visa requirement for foreign nationals wishing to start business in Fukuoka City (period of residence is 6 months)

Data source: Websites of local governments
* This list includes subsidies/incentives of local governments that are limited to foreign-affiliated companies or foreign companies. This list does NOT include subsidies/incentives that are applicable to both Japanese companies and foreign-affiliated companies. Please see websites of relevant local governments for details and the latest information.

Invest Japan Offices

The Japanese government sets up INVEST JAPAN offices in relevant ministries and agencies to serve as single contact points for foreign business people seeking information or help in setting up business in Japan. The offices are also located in the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI), its regional bureaus and in the Department of Economy, Trade and Industry within the Okinawa General Bureau.

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