Entering Japan’s Manufacturing Industry: Three Regions with Great Incentives for Foreign Businesses
Feb 14, 2018
Here is an overview of three regions in Japan that offer excellent government benefits and robust business support programs for foreign manufacturing companies:
Mie Prefecture is east of Osaka and Kyoto. The prefecture has a population of 1.8 million and a labor force just under 1 million. The prefecture is known for its famous for its high concentration of manufacturing industries, including transportation equipment and machinery, electronic components, general machinery, and electrical machinery. Mie’s capital city is Tsu.
Mie Prefecture is a three-hour trip from Tokyo and a two-hour trip from Osaka by public transportation. The prefecture is also accessible by airport via Nagoya’s Chubu “Centrair” International Airport, which features non-stop flights to Singapore, Shanghai, Seoul, Frankfurt, and Hawaii.
In addition to Mie Prefecture’s strong manufacturing base, the prefecture also boasts a well-developed automotive, semiconductor, liquid crystal, medical, and health industries. To attract foreign business, the Mie Prefecture provides grants for companies that establish a mother factory, set up R&D facilities, or open a regional headquarters in Mie. To learn more about Mie Prefecture’s subsidies, visit: http://www.pref.mie.lg.jp/common/05/ci400012574.htm
Mie Prefecture is currently designated as a Special Zone for medical and welfare industries.
Foreign companies in Mie Prefecture:
SanDisk – Milpitas, CA
BorgWarner – Auburn Hills, MI
UL – Northbrook, IL
The Shizuoka Prefecture is southwest of Tokyo and east of Nagoya. The prefecture is popular with domestic and foreign businesses due to its accessibility, quality workforce, and business-friendly initiatives. Since 2000, the prefecture has seen more new firms established than any other prefecture in Japan.
The Shizuoka Prefecture is served by JR Central and JR East railways, the Tomei Expressway, and a domestic airport in the city of Makinohara. The prefecture’s capital, Shizuoka, is one hour from Tokyo and 2.5 hours from Osaka via the Shinkansen. Although the Shizuoka Airport is primarily domestic, it does offer direct flights to Shanghai and Taipei, Taiwan.
Approximately 3.7 million people live in Shizuoka Prefecture, making it one of the more-heavily populated urban areas in Japan. Shizuoka’s manufacturing economy accounts for roughly 5% of Japan’s GDP, giving rise to its nickname as the “Manufacturing Prefecture.”
Industry sectors in Shizuoka are divided by geographical boundaries: east, west, and center. In the east, industries include: electrical machinery, paper and pulp, medical products, and transport equipment. In the west: transport equipment, general machinery, chemicals, textiles, and cutting-edge optoelectronics. The central region is comprised of electrical machinery, furniture and fishery products.
Shizuoka features a number of incentives for foreign companies; these include 500 million yen subsidy for the construction of facilities related to the production of machinery equipment, a 20% subsidy on land purchased for new offices, 1 million yen per new employee, a 50% subsidy on office space for a year, and more. To see the full list, visit: https://www.jetro.go.jp/en/invest/region/shizuoka.html
Foreign Companies in Shizuoka Prefecture:
Triumph International – Bad Zurzach, Switzerland
TE Connectivity – Schaffhausen, Switzerland
Molex, Inc. – Lisle, IL
Okinawa Prefecture is the southernmost prefecture of Japan and encompasses two-thirds of the Ryukyu Islands, a chain of over 100 islands nearly 650 miles long. Okinawa Island is the largest island and is home to Naha, the prefecture’s capital.
Okinawa Prefecture is served by multiple airports. The Naha Airport on Okinawa Island offers direct flights to Tokyo, Beijing, Bangkok, and Hong Kong. Flights to Tokyo are regularly under $200 USD and takes about two or three hours.
Okinawa Prefecture is also served by a number of ports, including the Ishigaki Port on Ishigaki Island, which serves as a gateway for Japan, Hong Kong, and the Philippines. Naha Port acts as a major distribution center for the prefecture with a 40,000-ton quay and other facilities.
Okinawa Island features the extensive Okinawa Expressway and Okinawa Monorail, which operates in Naha.
Okinawa Prefecture has a population of 1.4 million and a workforce of over half a million. Major local industries include tourism, agriculture, fisheries, civil engineering, and petroleum. Okinawa has the youngest and fastest-growing population among the prefectures in Japan.
The prefecture offers a number of subsidies and special economic zones designed to attract foreign manufacturing companies. Incentives include tax exemptions, subsidies for local youth employment, and low-interest financing by the Okinawa Development Finance Corporation. To learn more about Okinawa's subsidy programs, visit: https://www.jetro.go.jp/en/invest/region/okinawa/ and http://www.pref.okinawa.jp/english/index.html
Foreign Companies in Okinawa Prefecture:
Gilbane Building Company – Providence, RI
The Pasha Group – San Rafael, CA
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