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12/28/17
Government of Japan to Offer a New Startup Visa to Foreign Nationals
The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry and the Ministry of Justice have announced plans to adopt the Startup Visa, a new visa category aimed at attracting foreign entrepreneurs to Japan, in fiscal 2018. At present, foreign nationals can acquire a 6-month version of this visa, but only in the National Strategic Special Zones of Tokyo and Fukuoka. Many have said that six months is not enough time for foreigners who have just arrived in Japan to rent an office, open bank accounts, and do everything else they need to do to prepare for starting a company. This is why the new visa will be extended to one year and will be made available nationwide. With this move, many more municipalities are expected to take measures to attract foreign entrepreneurs to their regions.

12/28/17
Number of Companies Acquiring Land for Factories in Kyushu Up
According to statistics released by the Kyushu Bureau of Economy, Trade and Industry for the first half of 2017, the number of companies that purchased or leased at least 1,000 m2 of land for factories increased to 44 (+8 year-on-year), marking the first first-half increase in three years. Total land area expanded 2.9 times to 79 hectares. By prefecture, the number of acquisitions was highest in Fukuoka at 15, followed by eight each in Kumamoto and Miyazaki, five in Nagasaki and two in Oita. Of these, 13 were from the food sector. This suggests that capital investment is on the uptick on the back of rising corporate profits.

12/12/17
FIBA Holds Event at Governor's Residence
On Nov. 20, FIBA (Fukuoka International Business Association) held an event at the Governor's official residence, one of its regular networking sessions aimed at sharing information about business in Fukuoka and the greater Kyushu region. This year, an official from UniqueSec AB, a Swedish startup company developing small-scale radars for use in automobiles and other applications, gave a presentation. Governor Ogawa mingled with the participants and promoted a range of local products, including Akiou sweet persimmons, Amaui kiwis, Genkitsukushi brand rice, and Japanese sake.

12/12/17
Fukuoka Venture Markets Holds First-ever Event in Tokyo
On Oct. 27, Fukuoka Venture Market (FVM) held an event dubbed "Fukuoka Day in Diagonal Run Tokyo" in Tokyo. FVM was established in 1999 as a virtual venue for small and medium-sized venture companies to meet and pair up with business partners, and since then, over 200 monthly events have been held in Fukuoka Prefecture. This was the first time ever that an FVM event was held in Tokyo. On the day of the event, approximately 120 attendees listened to lectures given by major companies engaged in open innovation in Kyushu and proactive Fukuoka-based venture companies.

12/12/17
Braveridge Opens New Plant inside Itoshima Research Park
On Nov. 15, Braveridge, a maker of wireless communications technologies for IoT, held a completion ceremony for a new plant it built inside the prefecture's Itoshima Research Park. At this new facility, the company will conduct research and development in an effort to mass produce long range wide-area network (LoRaWAN)-compatible wireless modules. The two-story building has a total floor area of 1,986 m2. The plant will start with a staff of 60, and Braveridge aims to add 50 more staff by 2020 as part of its efforts to concentrate on production. The plant is the first private-sector facility to be built inside the Itoshima Research Park.

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