Wednesday, February 11, 2009
Japan one of the Cheapest Investment Destinations
Japanese government officials are talking about eliminating a 40% capital gains tax for most foreign investors, with an eye towards attracting some much-needed foreign investment capital. According to Bloomberg News, the government is planning talks with state-owned sovereign wealth funds from Saudi Arabia, UAE, Qatar and Kuwait to discuss more favorable investment conditions in Japan. Japan has one of the highest capital gains taxes, which has impeded foreign investment, contributing to the down climate. Only 4% of the funds managed by Japan’s private-equity and venture-capital comes from abroad, as compared to the 75% in the UK, 60% in the EU and 20% in the U.S., reports The Wall Street Journal. The economic news from Japan, as like other world regions, has been gloomy. In Q4 of 2008, Japan’s unemployment jumped from 3.9% to 4.4% as consumption fell 4.6%. As consumers abroad pull back on consumer spending, Japan’s population is unable to consume enough to offset the losses. The tax alteration could come as early as April 1 and boost investment from foreign funds by as much as 400% in the next few years, says Japan's Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI). If the Parliament passes the measure, the lack of a capital gains tax would make Japan, which is the 2nd largest economy in the world, one of the cheapest places to invest. While the METI website does not yet speak specifically to this plan, there is extensive English language information on inbound FDI.