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Japan to create four “Silicon Valleys” to boost tech startup ecosystem

At Ocean Bridge Management (, we help UK companies looking to expand to Japan, whether it is to find new business partners and investors, collaboration with Japanese companies or establishing new business opportunities.   We are constantly gathering new ideas and information about the Japanese market, and we judge the recent investment policy decision by the Japanese government to be an opportunity for businesses in the Thames Valley who are seeking to expand into the Japanese market.  We explain the details of the changes below.

In an announcement on 13th July, the Japanese government provided details of four metropolitan areas which it plans to develop into “Global Base Cities” with the goal of promoting these areas as centres of technology innovation and venture capital investment.  Following the model of Silicon Valley in the United States, these areas will benefit from government support to attract tech startups, investment and key talent to create new technology companies which will lead the national economy in the future.

The four locations chosen are:

  • Tokyo metropolitan area, including Tokyo, Tsukuba city and Ibaraki prefecture.
  • Central Aichi prefecture: Nagoya city and Hamamatsu city.
  • The Kansai area: Osaka city, Kyoto city and Kobe city.
  • Fukuoka city.

The Japanese government  intends to provide preferential subsidies and significant deregulation to the councils established by each base city to stimulate business with local economic groups and universities, as well as promoting investment and attracting workers from overseas.

In addition to the ‘global base cities’, Sapporo city, Sendai city, Hiroshima prefecture, and Kitakyushu city have been selected to provide sector-specific ecosystems for fields such as smart agriculture and environmental technology.

Over the last decade a new wave of entrepreneurism has established itself in Japan, and we look forward to seeing increased activity and development between the startup ecosystem in Kansai, and the ecosystems in other regions of Japan, with global companies and organisations as a result of the establishment of these startup clusters.  This as a great opportunity for UK companies and investors to develop new business opportunities in Japan.

In the Kansai region, Osaka is an expanding centre of activity for startup companies.  TVCC, Ocean Bridge and the Osaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry (OCCI) have worked together to facilitate two local UK businesses’ applications to the Global innovation forum (GIF) in Osaka.  GIF brings together startups from overseas including the UK and gives them exposure to the Kansai startup ecosystem.  The invitees get the opportunity to present their products demonstrations, participate in a pitch session, B2B meetings and networking with Japanese companies.  This year’s event will run between 26th to 28th October ( )

If you would like to engage with startup ecosystems in Japan, please contact Ocean Bridge Management here(

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Sarah Irving

Head of Marketing & Communications

Direct dial: 01753 870500

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