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Japan's first foreign business subsidy going to Philips

Staff writer ▼ | April 2, 2016
Japan will kick off its subsidy program targeting foreign companies with aid to global electronics giant Royal Philips, chipping in to help its endeavor in medical services.
Asia   $4.44 million for a system for doctors
Philips' Japanese unit this fall will begin working with Showa University to develop a system enabling doctors at one of the institution's Tokyo-area hospitals remotely diagnose emergency cases at the other, Nikkei reports.

The government will pay roughly half of the project's anticipated 500 million yen ($4.44 million) cost.

In addition to patient information sent using sensors and cameras, physicians will be able to draw on data Philips has collected in the U.S. on over 3 million medical cases to assist their diagnoses and discover effective treatment options.

The Dutch electronics company provides similar services at 30 sites in the U.S., and is on the hunt for sales opportunities in Japan.

To qualify, foreign businesses must work with a Japanese company or university. The program will pay up to the full cost of joint research and commercialization efforts related to such technologies as regenerative medicine and the "Internet of Things."

Japan lags the U.S. and Europe in the Internet of Things. Raising productivity in medical and nursing services via the Internet of Things is seen helping ease staff shortages in those fields.

The ministry will soon accepting applications for funding through the Japan External Trade Organization.

The government hopes to raise the stubbornly low level of overseas investment in Japan. Foreign direct investment in this country at the end of 2014 was around 23 trillion yen.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's government's goal of 35 trillion yen in investment by 2020 is still far off. FDI as a percentage of Japan's gross domestic product lags behind the level in China and South Korea, not to mention Europe and the U.S.

Other countries have hatched similar preferential policies to court foreign companies.

France offers renewable residency permits to entrepreneurs investing at least 10 million euros ($11.3 million) or employing 50 or more people. South Korea waives corporate and income taxes on foreign companies settling in certain special zones.