It has been over ten years since the Great East Japan Earthquake hit Fukushima. Thanks to worldwide support and Fukushima’s rebuilding and cleanup projects in Japan, the prefecture is slowly but surely making an economic recovery. The road to full recovery is not yet finished. However, what if you want to invest or start a business in Fukushima? Is it better to wait another ten years, or are there exciting opportunities for foreign companies? Let’s look at the Japanese prefecture that is mainly known for the earthquake and nuclear disaster.
Restoring the image of Fukushima
In February 2021, the Fukushima Ambassadors of Reconstruction (ふくしま復興大使) published a video explaining the rebuilding of Fukushima and conveying their gratitude to the received support and aid. They are well aware Fukushima is still recovering; however, they want the whole world to know that living and working in Fukushima is not equivalent to nuclear danger. For the prefecture to fully recover and for (foreign) businesses to fully employ, local and national governments need to continue and alter their support.
Fukushima is a prefecture with around 2,8 million inhabitants, with a GDP of 7,399,860 million Yen in 2014¹. From a business perspective, the main challenges are the aftermath of the nuclear disaster and finding the region’s industries and economy’s strengths. However, there are many opportunities if your business or organization is part of the following sectors and industries:
- Ceramic engineering and soil
- Food and agriculture
- Electronic machinery
- Call centers
- Data centers
- Research and development (R&D)
- Advanced technology
- Medical and welfare
- Renewable energy
¹Based on the Prefectural Citizens’ Economic Accounts of 2014 by the Cabinet Office
Incentives, subsidies and tax
Suppose you want to do business in Fukushima Prefecture or Fukushima City. In that case, the Fukushima government provides a subsidy of up to 50% of the designated land acquisition cost to support enterprise establishment. There is a subsidy system for foreign companies as well, for the costs of renting facilities, payment of utilities, management consulting fees, and personnel expenses. Furthermore, the Japanese and prefectural governments offer other subsidy systems and preferential tax systems, such as exempting corporate tax for five years.
You can receive a subsidy worth 50% of the land acquisition cost when you acquire 1.5 ha or more of an industrial park, invest 150 million yen or more in fixed assets, and start operating within three years of acquiring the land (30% for under 1.5). In addition, when you acquire privately-owned land and construct new bases in industrial regions, 5% of the acquisition cost is subsidized. In the case of R&D companies in medical care, medical welfare and/or renewable energy, this will be 10% instead of 5%.
Another subsidy for the promotion of employment is available when a company received a subsidy for land acquisition or was established in the mayor’s area and continuously employs new local employees for more than a year.
Suppose you employ more than five new local employees within a year or more since the start of operating. In that case, a three-year subsidy of 500,000 yen per employer is available if your company has received land acquisition grants. Once again, if your organization is medical and welfare-related and/or focuses on renewable energy R&D, you can enjoy a five-year subsidy instead of a three-year one. Furthermore, 50% of office rents are subsidized for three years as well.
Fukushima Special Zone Taxation for the Promotion of Industry Revival Investment
The manufacturing-related industry can benefit from Preferential Tax Treatment. This Treatment contains the following:
- Newly established businesses receive essential exempting of corporate tax for five years
- Businesses receive special depreciation or tax credit for investments in machinery, devices, and building.
- For the employment of disaster victims, you receive a tax credit of 10% for salaries payment.
- If your company is active in development and research, you will receive instant depreciation and a tax credit of depreciable assets.
- There are local tax exemptions in Fukushima Prefecture, such as enterprise tax, real estate acquisition tax, and fixed asset tax.
There is still much work to be done before Fukushima Prefecture is its old self. If you and your business want to assist Japanese communities and organizations hit by natural disasters, you can do so on the Japanese Red Cross Society website.
If you are looking for a professional to help you find your Fukushima business opportunities, do not hesitate to talk to us. We can either help you with this or help you find someone who can!
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