The Determinants of and Prospects for Foreign Direct Investment in Japan
Although Japan experienced a significant jump in inward foreign direct investment (FDI) around the turn of the millennium, the level of inward FDI penetration remains much lower than in many other countries. Looking at the factors that determine Japan's attractiveness as an investment destination for foreign multinationals, this paper examines the prospects for future FDI inflows. Topics addressed include the macroeconomic outlook for Japan (an important factor for market-seeking FDI), political, social and cultural factors reflecting Japan's willingness to embrace globalization, and policies the government could pursue to attract more FDI. It is argued that although Japan has clearly "opened up," lingering unease over a more laissez-faire market economy and inward foreign inward remains widespread and certain patterns from the past are beginning to reappear. A key issue in this context are merger and acquisition (M&A) rules and their implications are discussed in detail. The paper concludes by suggesting that unless Japan embarks on further substantial deregulation, increases in FDI inflows are likely to remain moderate and inward FDI penetration will continue to significantly trail behind that in other major advanced economies.
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