The Tokyo Foundation for Policy Research

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The Tokyo Foundation for Policy Research

Dissecting the Growth Problems of Japanese Start-ups

The Japanese government has been eager to promote start-up tech companies to stimulate growth. Yet, a major problem has been the small number of start-ups that have succeeded in growing into unicorns—companies valued at more than 1 billion US dollars. Some have blamed the immaturity of Japanese private capital markets, while others have pointed at overregulation. Our preliminary study focusses on the obstacles that clearly exist in Japan in linking capital markets and investors, on the one hand, and entrepreneurs and leading technologies, on the other. There may be problems in the regulatory framework or the inexperience of investors in discerning the potential for growth in an uncertain technological environment. We will conduct an extensive hearing of investors, start-up managers, universities, and administrators to get a broad picture of what is amiss. We also place importance in building up a broader network of people from whom we can reconduct hearings in the future, each time plunging into more specific questions.

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