Japan will aim to attract 100 trillion yen ($750 billion) worth of foreign direct investment by 2030, and more foreign talent and remote workers known as "digital nomads," as part of its drive to boost economic growth and global competitiveness, the government said Wednesday.
The numerical target, included in a new action plan, is roughly double the 46.6 trillion yen of foreign investment at the end of 2022. The government previously set an 80 trillion yen target for 2030.
The plan comes as the COVID-19 pandemic and Russia's war in Ukraine have underscored the need to streamline and strengthen supply chains for critical components, and ensure national security.
Japan wants to boost its standing as a production and research hub, capitalizing on a weak yen that would serve as an incentive for foreign investment.
Under the plan, Japan will use funds and other resources to attract investment in strategic areas such as semiconductors, digitalization, green technology and health care. It will seek to develop necessary human resources via tripartite cooperation among the government, firms and academia.
The project to build a Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. chip-making plant in Kumamoto Prefecture, southwestern Japan, is a recent example of the public and private sectors joining hands, with the government deciding to extend financial assistance.
Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, who wants to achieve a virtuous cycle of growth and redistribution, sees digital and green transformation as key areas of investment. "The action plan is one that will make Japan more open to the world," he said last week.
Japan has lagged behind other countries in attracting investment and talent from overseas. In 2022, Japan's outward investment totaled 270 trillion yen, more than five times the figure for inward investment.
With labor shortages already acute and the working population projected to shrink further, Japan, known for its strict immigration policy, has gradually opened its doors to foreign workers.
As the COVID-19 pandemic has prompted a fresh look at work styles, the government will consider ways to enlist digital nomads who travel while working remotely for companies, including those located overseas.
Currently Japan does not issue a visa specifically for such remote workers, while dozens of nations like Iceland and Portugal offer them.
The action plan also envisages allowing entrepreneurs who want to start a business in Japan to remain longer under a "startup" visa that currently allows for a maximum stay of up to one year.
For professionals seeking to obtain visas for highly skilled professionals, Japan made requirements simpler, such as earning 20 million yen or more and having a master's degree or higher, this month.
A record 3 million foreign nationals were living in Japan at the end of 2022, according to the government. Japan has a population of about 125 million.