On this page, Small and Medium sized Enterprises will find information on specific European Commission funded supports which they can benefit from when starting or doing business with Japan.

Enterprise Europe Network – Business support for SMEs

With over 600 partner organisations located in 52 countries, the Enterprise Europe Network is the largest network of contact points providing information and support for SMEs in the fields of international business cooperation, innovation, knowledge and technology transfer and cooperation in EU programmes. The Network is funded by the European Commission and its services are free of charge.
As Japan representative of the Network, the EU-Japan Centre is pleased to provide SMEs with free EEN Japan-related services in cooperation with EU EEN partnering organisations.

Managerial Training Programmes & Matchmaking Missions in Japan – Special conditions for EU SMEs

Every year, the EU-Japan Centre sends managers from EU companies to Japan for training missions which range from 5 days to 2 weeks. A full list of the upcoming missions is available at:

To facilitate small and medium-sized enterprises’ participation in the training schemes organized by the EU-Japan Centre, participants from SMEs can apply for a scholarship to get up to EUR 1200 towards their living expenses.

Step In Japan – Logistical support in Japan for SMEs

The EU-Japan Centre manages "Step in Japan", a support initiative for SMEs offering free of charge logistical support in Japan for EU-based SMEs planning on entering into or expanding within Japan. The initiative encompasses a full range of essential support measures for businesses:

  • a “hot desk” in Tokyo on the Centre’s premises which includes an internet connection and telephone (*) for up to 1 month (a maximum of 2 beneficiaries per time slot);
  • full access to meeting and seminar facilities within the Centre’s premises;
  • a help desk for all information inquiries on business in Japan;
  • assistance with using the Enterprise Europe Network service while in Japan.

Japan Tax and Public Procurement Helpdesk for European SMEs

The Japan Tax and Public Procurement (JTPP) Helpdesk intends to support the market access of European companies (particularly SMEs) to Japan, through the provision of free information and services in synergy with other business support services already offered (business information helpdesk, training, logistics support). These support measures will take the form of first-line information and advice on tax and public procurement (PP) and related issues, plus related training, materials and online resources.

EU-Japan FTA-EPA Helpdesk

On 17 July 2018, the European Union and Japan signed an Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA), the biggest trade agreement ever negotiated by the EU that will create an open trade zone covering over 600 million people. The Helpdesk will provide information about what to do to benefit from the preferential duties tariffs when trading with Japan. Webinars and release of fachsheets are also planned. (for enquiries) (for fachtsheets and webinars)

Policy seminars

The EU-Japan Centre regularly organises seminars dealing with the internationalization process for SMEs toward Japan:

For more information please visit:

Special Publications

The EU -Japan Centre has published the following SME internationalisation-related publications:

  • In Search for Growth: Towards a New Role for SMEs in EU-Japan Relations

This publication outlines the Centre’s strategy for the coming years: The topic of the internationalization process of SMEs is considered from several angles and perspectives. The issue of trade and market access to Japan is extensively discussed, including views from industrial sectors as diverse as aerospace and footwear. In addition, various cross cultural aspects are also tackled, the recent EU policy strategy is critically analysed and the publication is further enriched with the inclusion of two recent seminar reports on the specific aspects of SMEs internationalization. The picture is further completed by the results of a survey on obstacles, opportunities and the needs of support conducted among a sample of European SMEs investing or wishing to expand in Japan as well as by a number of testimonials from SMEs which have benefited from the Centre’s training programmes and subsequently made it “Big in Japan”.

  • EU SMEs present in Japan with a branch office - a mapping attempt

Following the survey “Opportunities for the Internationalisation of Small and Medium Enterprises”* commissioned by the European Commission in August 2011 with the aim of identifying opportunities for EU SMEs in markets outside the EU as well as of identifying available support from the European commission provided to SMEs in relation to seven key target markets: Brazil, Russia, India, China, Japan, South Korea and Ukraine, the EU-Japan Centre for Industrial Cooperation has made an attempt towards mapping the EU SMEs physically present with a local branch in Japan.