JAPAN: Government fund to aid business innovation

Japan's government set up a new investment fund last week with the aim of boosting the competitiveness of Japanese firms through the sharing of technologies and personnel among businesses and universities, reports The Japan Times. Innovation Network Corp of Japan, in which government holds a nearly 90% stake, will allow the government to provide risk money and revitalise industries amid the credit crunch following global financial turmoil.

The fund has an investment capacity of around ¥900 billion (US$9.4 billion), with the government investing ¥82 billion while pledging to compensate up to ¥800 billion in the event financial institutions and other private-sector stakeholders in the fund suffer losses.

The fund has so far raised ¥8.5 billion from 16 companies, according to the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry. It has yet to be decided where the first of the fund's money will go. The move is expected to allow Japanese universities and other research institutions to find appropriate partners among industries and provide businesses with advanced studies.
Full report in The Japan Times