2020’s Subsidies to Support and Expand Your Business in Japan

2020’s Subsidies to Support and Expand Your Business in Japan

A quick look at the most significant subsidies for businesses in Japan.   

Many foreign entrepreneurs with fledgling businesses in Japan are unaware of the business subsidy programs they could apply to because the information is primarily in Japanese on government websites. 

Today, we are listing the subsidies that are still open for applications—but pay attention because a few of these have deadlines that are fast approaching!


Business Subsidies in Japan You Should Know About in 2021

NEW ARTICLE: Business Subsidies in Japan You Should Know About in 2021


Manufacturing subsidy

Manufacturing subsidy

Focusing on supplementing the cost of capital investment, this subsidy program supplements the purchase of manufacturing equipment for new product development and system construction. It includes machinery and equipment costs, technology introduction costs, expert costs, transportation costs, cloud usage costs, etc. The basic requirements for applying to this subsidy include: 

  • Businesses that have a 3- to 5-year plan 

  • Value added +3% or more/year

  • Total salary payment has improved by 1.5% or more/year

  • Meets regional minimum wage requirements by +30 yen

Subsidy amounts are based on business size categories, such as SME or small business owner, etc. Upgrades in manufacturing are eligible for 10 million yen (up to 1/2 of investment for SME businesses; 2/3 of investment of small businesses). Overseas expansion of a Japan-based business is up to 30 million yen (1/2 of investment for SME businesses; 2/3 of investment for small businesses). This PDF (Japanese) explains further tiers. Current open session deadline: December 18, 2020. 

Application: You can apply online here

IT/software subsidy

IT/software subsidy

This subsidy program aims to strengthen IT use in Japan. In 2020, the program focuses on developing software and IT solutions that improve office operations efficiency, employee productivity, and new customer acquisition. For example, improving labor management systems and inventory management systems, and software that promotes business automation. It will subsidize the cost of software and tools that cover any of these aims. The basic requirements for applying to this subsidy include: 

  • Total salary payment has improved by 1.5% or more on average per year

  • Meets regional minimum wage requirements by +30 yen

Subsidy amounts are up to 1/2 of costs with a limit of 4.5 million yen. A COVID-19 category with increased subsidized amounts has been created for businesses currently focusing on improving their telework environment (includes covering rental fees of tablets and PCs). This PDF (Japanese) explains further details. Current open session deadline: December 18, 2020.

Application: You can apply online here

COVID-19 business rent subsidy

Business rent subsidy

Businesses that saw a decline in income because of COVID-19 related shutdowns are eligible for this rent subsidy program. The basic requirements for applying to this subsidy include: 

  • Businesses with capital of less than 1 billion yen

  • During May to December 2020, business revenue for 1 month declined by over 50 percent compared to the average monthly business revenue of 2019. Or,

  • During May to December 2020, business revenue for 3 consecutive months declined by over 30 percent compared to the average monthly business revenue of 2019

  • The business/business owner must be paying rent for the building used for business purposes

Subsidy amounts are up to 2/3 of rental costs with a maximum payout of 6 million yen total for corporations, and a maximum payout of 3 million yen total for individual businesses. This PDF (Japanese) explains further details. Current open session deadline: January 15, 2021.

Application: You can apply online here

Minato business rent subsidy

Minato business rent

For newly established businesses setting up in Minato city, the Minato government provides a rent subsidy for up to 25 applicants. A lottery is held if the number of applications exceeds this amount. The basic requirements for applying to this subsidy include: 

  • Businesses that have opened during the period of December 2018 to November 30, 2020

Subsidy amounts are up to 1/3 of the monthly rent for general businesses with a limit of 50,000 yen per month for 12 months. For stores that sell fresh food, the subsidy amount is 2/3 of the monthly rent with a limit of 100,000 yen per month for up to 60 months. Go here (Japanese) for further details on applications, requirements, and forms. Current open session deadline: December 28, 2020.

Application: Send in your application to the Minato city office, addressed to the Industrial Promotion Division. Minato-ku Office, 1-5-25 Shibakoen, Minato-ku, 105-8511

Business improvement subsidy

Business improvement subsidy

The business improvement subsidy program is run by the Ministry of Health, Labour, and Welfare to support the productivity improvement of small and medium-sized enterprises and small businesses by subsidizing the raising of minimum wages in the workplace.

Additionally, if your company has invested in equipment that improves productivity, this program will subsidize part of that capital investment. Some requirements for applying to this subsidy include: 

  • Businesses paying employees a minimum wage of less than 850 yen

  • Formulating and implementing a wage increase plan

  • Improving operations by introducing equipment and facilities that contribute to productivity 

For further conditions and stipulations, please refer to the program’s official page. Current open session deadline: January 29, 2021.

Application: Applications for business improvement subsidies are accepted at the Employment Environment and Equalization Department Office of each Prefectural Labor Bureau. A list (Japanese) of such offices can be found here.

*Some final points: Subsidy programs are usually renewed each year. So if you miss one of the deadlines, you will probably be able to apply next year. We suggest looking into eligibility particulars now so that you’ll be ready when 2021’s subsidy programs recruitment sessions begin again.

However, the paperwork required for applying to any of these subsidies is time-consuming and often laborious...  

Feel free to ask your TokyoMate Assistant for help! 

Our TokyoMate Assistants will help you research whether your business is eligible for any of the subsidies listed in this article. We can also assist you with any other high-priority task that you want to mark off your to-do list!

We provide a no-risk 30-day moneyback guarantee with each of our pricing plans—we're that confident you'll love the results. 

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