ANNOUNCEMENT 03 Aug 2012In August 2012, the government of Japan announced changed rules for foreign investors.
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On 3 August 2012, the Diet of Japan passed the 'Act on Special Measures for the Promotion of Research and Development et al. by Certified Multinational Enterprises' (referred to as the 'Act of Promotion of Japan as an Asian Business Center'), which entered into force on 1 November 2012.
The purpose of the act is to attract high value-added sites (like R&D centers and regional headquarters) to Japan, via reductions on the tax burden or in patent fees and the like. The Ministry of Economy Trade and Industry (METI) will certify businesses that satisfy predetermined requirements. The Act also includes a migration-related support measure for certified companies, which has the effect of facilitating immigration in the country. All foreigners intending to work for certified companies are eligible for expedited entry examinations (Certificate of Eligibility for Status of Residence). The procedure usually takes at least a month but it will be carried out in 10 days to facilitate entry of foreign workers engaged in certified companies.
Furthermore, investment procedures for certified companies will be shortened. Under the Foreign Exchange and Foreign Trade Act, foreign entities establishing a new business must notify their intention to make inward direct investments. Following the notification, companies face a statutory inaction period of 30 days(during which no investment can be made). This period is only two weeks for certified companies.