Japan

Institution: Musashi University
Survey Vendor: Social Survey Research Information Co Ltd (SSRI)
Funders: Venture Enterprise Center
Key Indicators
TEA: 3.8%
 
Total early-stage Entrepreneurial Activity: percentage of 18-64 population who are either a nascent entrepreneur or owner-manager of a new business
Established Business Ownership: 7.2%
 
Percentage of 18-64 population who are currently an owner-manager of an established business, i.e., owning and managing a running business that has paid salaries, wages, or any other payments to the owners for more than 42 months
Perceived Opportunities: 7%
 
Percentage of 18-64 population (individuals involved in any stage of entrepreneurial activity excluded) who see good opportunities to start a firm in the area where they live
Perceived Capabilities: 12%
 
Percentage of 18-64 population (individuals involved in any stage of entrepreneurial activity excluded) who believe they have the required skills and knowledge to start a business
Entrepreneurial Intention: 3%
 
Percentage of 18-64 population (individuals involved in any stage of entrepreneurial activity excluded) who are latent entrepreneurs and who intend to start a business within three years
Fear of Failure: 55%
 
Percentage of 18-64 population (individuals involved in any stage of entrepreneurial activity excluded) who indicate that fear of failure would prevent them from setting up a business

Persistently low levels of activity – but high activity among those with positive entrepreneurial attitudes


Most recent data: 2014


The level of entrepreneurial activity in Japan has been very low since GEM began collecting data in 1999. In 2014 the rate of early stage entrepreneurial activity (TEA) was 3.84%, which is the second lowest of all economies surveyed, after Suriname. Japan’s TEA rate is less than that of its neighbours, such as China (15.53%) and Taiwan (8.50%).

Entrepreneurial attitude rates – e.g. perceived opportunities to start a business, perceived abilities to do so – are also very low, reflecting the low level of activity.

The average entrepreneur in Japan is over 45 years of age, male, and has a bachelor degree. He starts up his business in the industry where he worked.



Enablers and Constraints


The National Finance Corporation, a government affiliated financial institution, has extended loans to over 20,000 start-ups. Under Abenomics - the economic policies advocated by Prime Minister Shinzō Abe since the December 2012 general election - private financial institutions have started to actively seek out new start-ups, but what Japan lacks is potential entrepreneurs. Furthermore, a big problem for Japan is a lack of venture capital and business angels.


Trends Over Time


The level of entrepreneurial activity in Japan has been very low for as long as GEM data has been collected. 

However, if we take into account entrepreneurial attitudes, Japan’s level of entrepreneurial activity actually exceeds that of the United States. For example, 19.5% of Japanese adults who believe they have the ability to start up a business are actually doing so; in the USA, the figure is 17.4% (based on 2001-2013 data).


Challenges for the Future


People who lack entrepreneurial spirit and a positive attitude towards entrepreneurship have a negative influence on potential entrepreneurs. In Japan, there are many people like this, who don’t start up businesses or assist entrepreneurs. Combating this socio-cultural issue is the big challenge for entrepreneurship in Japan.

Japan Reports

Name
Report information
pdf
GEM Japan 2000 Report - Part 1
Report information
pdf
GEM Japan 2000 Report - Part 2
Report information
pdf
GEM Japan 2000 Report - Part 3
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