Geography and Population
Japan is situated in north eastern Asia between the North Pacific and the Sea of Japan. The area of Japan is 377,873 square kilometres, nearly equivalent to Germany and Switzerland combined or slightly smaller than California. Japan consists of four major islands, surrounded by more than 4,000 islands.
Japan’s population is over 126 million. Most Japanese reside in densely populated urban areas like Tokyo, the capital city of Japan. The population of the Tokyo Metropolitan Area including the city, some of its suburbs and the surrounding area is approximately 12 million.
Japan is a constitutional monarchy where the power of the Emperor is very limited. As a ceremonial figurehead, he is defined by the constitution as “the symbol of the state and of the unity of the people”. Power is held chiefly by the Prime Minister of Japan and other elected members of the Diet, while sovereignty is vested in the Japanese people.
Legal system of Japan is in a framework of a parliamentary representative democratic monarchy, where the Prime Minister of Japan is the head of government, and of a multi-party system. Executive power is exercised by the government. Legislative power is vested in both the government and the two chambers of parliament: the Diet with the House of Representatives and the House of Councillors. The Judiciary is independent of the executive and the legislature. In academic studies, Japan is generally considered a constitutional monarchy.
Communication and Transportation
Telecommunication, internet as well as transportation in Japan are highly developed. The telephone direct dialling system gives instantaneous international communication from both fixed and mobile units.
Language and Currency
Japanese is the official language used in Japan. However, many Japanese can understand English since it is a language that one must learn as part of Japan’s compulsory education.
The currency used is Japanese Yen (JPY).
Communication and Transportation
Telecommunication, internet, as well as transportation in Japan are highly developed. The telephone direct dialling system gives instantaneous international communication from both fixed and mobile units.
Major Exports and Imports
Major trading partners of Japan for exports are China and the United States of America, and other countries in Asia, such as South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore and Thailand. Cars, electric devices and machinery are the primary exports to other countries.
As for imports, China, the United States of America, Australia, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, UAE and Taiwan are the country’s major trading partners. Imported items mainly include natural resources, such as oil, iron ore and food items.
Advantages of Investing in Japan
Japan is a centre of new trends and creativity and is a coveted testing ground for new products. Today, increasing numbers of companies around the world are partnering with Japanese companies to develop products and services, create innovative technologies, and conduct R&D projects.
Japan has an enormous market, one of the world’s largest in terms of economic scale. The scale of the economy of the country’s individual regions rivals that of some countries.
Japan’s industries are globally competitive and, as can be seen in the automotive sector, the nation’s industrial structure is broad-based, with a large number of smaller companies functioning to support the world heavy weights. For foreign companies, Japan is not just an attractive sales market but also a country that offers foreign companies several opportunities in all its sectors.
As the East Asian market grows rapidly, the economic integration between countries in the region continues to strengthen. Japan is becoming ever more important for companies from around the world as a location for regional headquarters and R&D bases to support their expansion into Asia.
Programs and Support to Promote Investment in Japan
Foreign-capitalized firms operating in Japan are eligible to borrow loans from government-affiliated financial institutions for the purpose of acquiring land, buildings, machinery and equipment and for research and development.
To improve the administration procedure for investment, each ministry or institution related to investment has established a single contact point, which can indicate the division in charge of a particular procedure.
Furthermore, many local governments provide local tax abatements or exemptions, subsidies, and other incentives to firms that set up operations in their regions.
The government levies customs duties on some goods entering Japan. In order to import goods, customs clearance must be obtained. This procedure includes import and quarantine controls on certain goods.
A vast majority of industries in Japan have been liberalized from trade barriers and are welcoming foreign direct investment. Such investment is treated as “foreign direct investment in Japan” under the Foreign Exchange and Foreign Trade Act and is distinguished from financial and portfolio investment. In principle, the submission of ex post facto notification to the Minister of Finance and the Minister(s) with authority over a particular industry is already a sufficient requirement if foreign investors plan to invest in Japan.
Source of Finance
Japan is a major international financial centre with a deregulated environment attracting the cream of the world’s financial institutions and offering a full range of competitive financial services. Japan is a member of the World Bank and Asian Development Bank, which are among the financial institutions that provide loans and grants to a country’s government for the purpose of pursuing capital projects.