Saturday, October 19, 2013
Tax Benefits Eyed To Make Big Cities More Foreigner-Friendly
TOKYO (Nikkei)--To make the nation's urban centers more accommodating to foreigners, the Land and Infrastructure Ministry will consider tax benefits and subsidies next fiscal year to spur the necessary investments.
With Tokyo set to host the 2020 Summer Olympics and Abenomics creating a tail wind, the ministry seeks to enhance the international competitiveness of Japan's major cities by encouraging investments from overseas companies.
The initiative would apply to 11 urban areas, including Tokyo, Osaka, Nagoya, Fukuoka and Sapporo. Public-private councils comprising municipalities, local real estate firms and others would draw up plans and submit them to the ministry.
Operations that establish and manage international conference facilities, hospitals and schools that can readily accommodate foreign-language speakers would qualify to receive tax breaks for five years.
Subsidies will also be considered. Firms that offer "soft-side" services, such as providing information about foreigner-friendly hospitals on the Internet, would get half their expenses covered. And for "hard-side" businesses, such as setting up foreign-language street signs and building interpreter booths at conference facilities, one-third of their costs would be covered.
(The Nikkei, Oct. 19 morning edition)