TOKYO — The Ministry of International Trade and Industry said Tuesday that it will help foreign companies boost exports to Japan and increase investments there by providing introductions to buyers and office space in Tokyo.
Japan's trade partners have long complained that high rents and the difficulties of breaking into the close-knit business community have hampered their activities, contributing to a growing trade imbalance.
Japan's global trade surplus climbed 38% in 1992 to a record $107 billion. Its surplus with the United States rose 14% to $43.67 billion.
Takuji Kobayashi of the Ministry of International Trade and Industry said the agency will establish an 18-worker support center on March 25, including five consultants to advise foreign firms on doing business in Japan.
Kobayashi said the center will provide free office space for up to two months, but that companies will be charged for translation and other services.
To help foreign companies invest in Japan, MITI plans to set up a special corporation, possibly by the end of May, said Hayato Yanagawa, a ministry official.
Yanagawa said the corporation, a joint venture between the government and private interests, will give seminars on Japanese business practices and help foreign companies recruit Japanese employees.
As of March 31, 1991, 2,717 foreign companies were operating in Japan, up 4.2% from the previous year, the ministry said. Foreigners have invested $18.4 billion in the country since 1950.