business

Japan to open English-speaking support office to lure foreign financial firms

30 Comments

Japan will open an English-speaking support office for foreign asset management firms seeking to do business in the country in January, Finance Minister Taro Aso said on Friday, as it aims to boost the country's standing as a global financial center.

The move comes as Japan has sought for years to lure foreign professionals, while experts have said Tokyo needed to tackle issues such as a relatively high tax rate and a lack of English language fluency in the workplace.

The Financial Market Entry Office, which will be set up by the Financial Services Agency and the Local Finance Bureau, will provide assistance in English to foreign asset managers who plan to work in Japan while foreign businesses can apply to register their operations in the country in English, the government said.

"Although Asian financial markets concentrate in Hong Kong, we will make an effort to bring them to Japan," Aso told reporters after a cabinet meeting.

"That would lead to an increase of financial capital here, which has a big meaning for the Japanese economy."

Separately, the FSA said in August it was considering tax reform. Japan's 29.74% corporate tax rate is far higher than Hong Kong's 16.5% rate, which is among the lowest in the region.

Tokyo ranked fourth in Z/Yen Group and China Development Institute's rankings of global financial centers published in September, down from third place in March, while Hong Kong rose from sixth to fifth place.

Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said in his first policy speech to parliament in October the government would pursue a range of initiatives to make Japan a major global financial centre in Asia and in the world.

© Thomson Reuters 2020.

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"The FSA said in August it was considering tax reform. Japan's 29.74% corporate tax rate is far higher than Hong Kong's 16.5% rate..." 

So here's an idea: shift the tax burden away from the corporations (which are earning the highest profits in recorded history and are hoarding that money by record amounts) and instead put a heavier burden on working people, whose income is falling and whose spending accounts for 60-70% of GDP.

Neo-liberalism loves its recipes for disaster.

18 ( +20 / -2 )

How many years now has Japan been trying to "lure" foreign firms to come here and open offices?

The problem isnt just "language" assistance, that is just sugar-coating the pile of guano that sits under the surface! Does anyone really think that language assistance alone is going to be enough?

Just ask the guys who used to run Nissan!

26 ( +27 / -1 )

Japan will open an English-speaking support office for foreign asset management firms seeking to do business in the country in January, Finance Minister Taro Aso said on Friday, as it aims to boost the country's standing as a global financial center.

More subsidized corporate welfare socialism that will probably be passed on with austerity measures like cuts to pensions and benefits and higher sales taxes, even on foodstuffs. Trust in Aso to set up such a program. Maybe this support office will have actual English speakers?

15 ( +15 / -0 )

"Although Asian financial markets concentrate in Hong Kong, we will make an effort to bring them to Japan," Aso told reporters after a cabinet meeting. Japan will open an English-speaking support office for foreign asset management firms seeking to do business in the country in January,

Singapore already has that from years ago.

while foreign businesses can apply to register their operations in the country in English, the government said.

To register in English but after that still there are many things need to be done, not only registration.

13 ( +13 / -0 )

Yeah registration will be in English, after that details in Japanese :D

12 ( +12 / -0 )

May I ask why money made or brought in by financial firms is different from the money and advantages other firms bring to Japan?

And why only them get this special support. My companies have a positive inbound cashflow, we bring about 60 % of our revenue from outside Japan into Japan. I pay high taxes, pension, health and social contributions too. I have hired Japanese staff, management and 3rd party Japanese companies.

We create real business, not bubbles.

I get harassed weekly by ministries and their bureaucracies, banks are a nightmare to “work” with. And more red tape instead of less is constantly invented. Business visa’s limited in. Time and so on.

instead of financial support for hiring young Japanese people we get discouraged to do so by the lack of incentives which reads as “ non”.

15 ( +15 / -0 )

There's too much institutional obscurity.

They're not releasing the evidence in the Nissan trial, they don't explain why the Tokyo Stock Market crashed for a day, immigration and legal procedures are a black hole.

14 ( +14 / -0 )

Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said in his first policy speech to parliament in October the government would pursue a range of initiatives to make Japan a major global financial centre in Asia and in the world.

Don't make me laugh !!!

9 ( +9 / -0 )

To effectively deal with foreign companies, and foreign people I might add, japan needs to change far more than just the language. The culture, the attitudes, the closed mindedness, the suspicion all need to

change as well.

13 ( +13 / -0 )

to lure

;)

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Given the recent treatment of foreign PR's over the covid-19 who were unable to return, some for months. I still wouldn't leave the country unsure I could return.

12 ( +12 / -0 )

It is a pity that the government just wants the inward investment and not the people.

Japan will not be able to replace the diversity found in Singapore nor the inclusion that was found in Hong Kong until recently.

And life in Tokyo is expensive and cramped, doing the simplest activity can also turn into a pain in the hindquarters too.

10 ( +10 / -0 )

yubaru:

Does anyone really think that language assistance alone is going to be enough?

Apparently somebody does.

Another tone-deaf, hare-brained scheme which will go nowhere. Just like that special visa to lure all those talented foreigners.

The thing is, with all the current problems in HK, it will still be ahead of Japan. Most educated HKers are expected to speak English, and many also have to understand Mandarin too. And the red tape there is nowhere near as bad as in Japan.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

This is depressing as hell, these idiots of the LDP have no idea of how they have destroyed\destroy Japan over the last 40yrs, its insane!

This idea of a financial centre I have seen floated maybe 3-4times at least & NOTHING was ever accomplished except foreign banks etc downsising or leaving...

And the environment for business in general as already pointed out is very bad, to seem it seemed the govt was purposely trying to help me fail, I worked on my own for 20yrs here, a few years back I shut my business down & now work with a few like minded individuals, its better but still AWFUL!!

Sadly I think Japan is way too far gone, without a FULL RESTORATION where everything changes from schooling to work to family life Japan will continue downwards

Any young people outside of Japan thinking of coming here had better think twice, no make that 10times & IF you still want to, stay only for 1-2years, you MUST have an exit strategy BEFORE you even come here or else your Japan adventure could well ruin your lifes plans!

6 ( +7 / -1 )

You won’t be able to fill in the tax papers correctly, neither in English nor in Japanese. lol

5 ( +5 / -0 )

It is not just language, economic or political policies; It is China. Rather, it is Hong Kong's connection to China.

China's economy is much larger, dynamic and expansive than Japan's. And financial institutions and businesses being in Hong Kong can tap into that market. But not so much from Japan.

Japan wasn't able to become the financial hub for Asia/East Asia when it was at the height of its economic power, and it can't certainly be it now when it is so much weaker.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

Another point to make is that as far as a financial center goes it is futile to even mention any other possibility but Tokyo. For many reasons any logical person knows

2 ( +2 / -0 )

For japan i should ad

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Lol,

What an utter joke

Even with the recent resumption and increase in commercial flights, Japan Post still continues

to maintain their long list of over a hundred countries that shipment by air is not allowed.

Living in past glory and heads buried deep in the sand.

P&G moved the regional HQ to Singapore, Carrefour came, cut their losses and left immediately as well

as many notable financial institutions. One would expect Walmart will use Seiyu to increase their foothold

here but it is not happening and that says a lot where the market here stands internationally.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Also, Tokyo is well overdue for a tectonic plate movement which would put a crimp in anyone’s plans...

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Singapore already has that from years ago.

You realize Singapore is an English speaking country, right? Nothing happened "years ago."

1 ( +2 / -1 )

And life in Tokyo is expensive and cramped, doing the simplest activity can also turn into a pain in the hindquarters too.

This. In Singapore, literally every condo building has a pool, gym, BBQ areas and good weather all year around.

You cannot find this at a reasonable price in Tokyo, if at all.

I cannot see why anybody would chose Japan if they had an option -- and they are not otherwise Japanophile.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

Have written this frequently - it's easy to set up a company or business here, but the challenge is running one, and the inflexible behaviour, attitudes and intransigence of banks and financial services agencies, real estate and property companies, personnel agencies and import/ export control is one of the major obstacles to any operation.

The National Tax Agency is the only one that operates digitally and actually helps businesses.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

If Japanese were trained in their school days to apply logic, think critically, analytically and creatively, and solve problems, the country wouldn't have the problems that they do. But that would mean challlenging the status quo, which must be maintained at all costs. Otherwise, competence might become the measure of things, not adhereance to an outdated set of norms based on loyalty and deference.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

They also fail to mention that all legally binding documents in Japan have to be in Japanese...

5 ( +5 / -0 )

This is not a long term solution. Long term investments can only happen in Japan when all lawful documents are issued in English for business. This must happen for investors,foreign workers. Japan must understand that business means communication both ways.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

@zoroto

You realize Singapore is an English speaking country, right? Nothing happened "years ago."

Yes it years ago, first Singapore being expelled by Malaysia 1965, need to do things by their own. In 1968 Singapore had plan to attract foreign financial institution, followed up in 1970 MAS Act was legalize. There rest just follow with really good work.

Japan has many years to do that, even many years before Singapore did, if Japan really wanted.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

May I ask why money made or brought in by financial firms is different from the money and advantages other firms bring to Japan?

And why only them get this special support. My companies have a positive inbound cashflow, we bring about 60 % of our revenue from outside Japan into Japan. I pay high taxes, pension, health and social contributions too. I have hired Japanese staff, management and 3rd party Japanese companies.

We create real business, not bubbles.

I get harassed weekly by ministries and their bureaucracies, banks are a nightmare to “work” with. And more red tape instead of less is constantly invented. Business visa’s limited in. Time and so on.

They just busy attracting things that may or may not come, while ignoring there are lot foreigners that already doing business in Japan and contributing to economy, without having any special treatment at all.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

About ten years ago I went to a real estate office to rent an APT for my office. I was told no, not having a Japanese guarantor means I can't rent APT. I got a Japanese guarantor. Then, not having X amount of yen in the bank means I can't rent APT. (X amount was a year's rent; how they thought I'd let them have it if I skipped out, I don't know). I opted out of APT and found a better place cheaper almost across the street. APT is still unoccupied ten years later. And Suga wants foreign companies to face this?

4 ( +4 / -0 )

all one has to do is see that jesuit stooge taro aso, a man so desperate to be part of the club that he married his daughter off to a rothschild, is behind this and it's clear this idea is dead in the water.

the largest companies in japan make actual things. cars, clothes, pharmaceuticals, robotics, machine parts, appliances, telecommunications, technology. the last thing japan needs is more talent being siphoned off from ものづくり to the fast money of the financial world.

let singapore have their financial centre... it's a soulless, cultural wasteland, nanny state with not much else going for it than a high gdp per capita and great food. it's the perfect example of how a government prioritizing economic growth over everything is a bore.

when singapore can sell a billion game consoles, or force american motor giants to rethink their strategy, or produce multiple world champion boxers, or develop lasers that are in every single blu-ray player, or have two decades of creating preeminent jazz, or be first in the world with 8k broadcasts, or has their country in it's own specialized category on porn sites (that are not blocked from access without workarounds) people can start talking about singapore being anywhere near as vibrant a place to live as japan.

i'm okay with there being hoops for foreigners to live in japan. simply having capital shouldn't be the measure for who gets to be here. people with the patience to deal with the bureaucratic mess that is japan in good humour and also dedicated enough to learn the language is what it takes for japanese society to function as it does. though a little kaizen couldn't hurt...

1 ( +2 / -1 )

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