The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry plans to reinforce prefecture-based networks of experts to support management successions at small companies as more and more owners retire due to age-related reasons, sources said.
The ministry will designate “succession coordinators” for the prefectural networks and “bloc coordinators” for regions in each prefecture, the sources said Saturday.
It will also draw up bloc-based lists of people who can aid in successions, with their areas of expertise specified, while designating regions that demand intensive support, the sources said.
Business succession networks, in which town, municipal and prefectural governments work hand in hand with regional financial institutions, chambers of commerce, certified tax accountants and other entities, have been formed in 19 of the nation’s 47 prefectures.
The networks have begun visiting small-business owners when they turn 60 years old to ask them whether they have successors and what their management challenges might be.
For business succession support measures, the ministry has set aside about ¥7 billion in the fiscal 2017 draft supplementary budget and the blueprint for the fiscal 2018 initial budget.
It estimates that the number of small-business owners over 70 will rise to some 2.45 million in 2025. About half of them are expected to lack successors if no support measures are provided.
Among small-business owners, the largest age group was formed by 66-year-olds in 2015, compared with 47-year-olds in 1995.
The lack of successors is becoming more acute in rural areas of Japan, where business owners 60 or older account for 66.7 percent of the total in Akita Prefecture, for example.