April 20, 2017 6:00 am JST

Tokyo beckons foreign entrepreneurs for financial hub dream

Setting up shop would be made easier under Gov. Koike

Tokyo aims to court 40 foreign financial institutions by fiscal 2020.

TOKYO -- Drawing in more entrepreneurs from abroad will form a key part of Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike's vision of turning the city into a global financial center.

Koike wants to take advantage of the central government's special economic zone program -- designed to promote deregulation in designated areas -- and will present a package of proposals tailored to the city Thursday.

One proposal aims to ease visa requirements for those looking to set up shop, allowing them one year to do preparatory work, instead of six months now, and thus giving them more time to cooperate with such stakeholders as business partners, investors and potential customers. At the end of 2016, 21,877 foreigners had this type of visa. Nearly half were Chinese, and 9,242 were in Tokyo.

Another step for consideration is the certification of high-skill workers. Foreigners with this designation -- based on merit points -- are allowed to engage in not only research but also profit-generating activities. Koike will propose granting extra points for foreigners working for foreign asset management companies in Tokyo, for instance.

The deregulation package would also address the families of foreign workers, by allowing elderly parents and household service workers to stay in the country with them.

Tokyo aims to court 40 foreign financial institutions by fiscal 2020. Attracting risk money would spur the creation of new services in such fields as fintech, it reckons.

The metropolitan government also hopes to bring back foreign asset management companies. Before the 2008 global financial crisis, seven to nine such companies a year were launching operations in Japan. But this has dropped to just three or so lately.

(Nikkei)

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