Japan’s Visual Industry Promotion Organization (VIPO) and Japan Film Commission have announced details of a new incentives program for offshore film and TV productions shooting in the country.
The new scheme, which is under the jurisdiction of Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI), will fund up to one half of the qualifying Japanese spend of international productions, with a JPY1BN ($6.8M) cap.
Eligible productions include “large-scale overseas TV and film projects shot on location in Japan”. The amount of funding per production will be decided by a committee after “consideration of the application content and number of applicants”.
Qualifying spend includes direct expenses related to film production in Japan, including payments to Japanese corporations, individuals, local governments and public organizations. However, some costs are not included in qualifying spend, such as the cost of location scouting in Japan.
Applications, which open this month, need to be submitted by a Japanese production company and fulfil one of the two following requirements:
- Direct production costs in Japan exceed JPY500M ($3.38M) OR total production costs exceed JPY1BN ($6.8M) and direct production costs in Japan exceed JPY200M ($1.35M).
- Projects are scheduled to be released, screened, broadcast or distributed in more than ten countries, and their direct production costs in Japan exceed JPY200M ($1.35M).
However, even projects that don’t fulfil these requirements will be considered if they “greatly benefit the Japanese economy and the domestic film industry”.
Projects applying for the incentive must also prove some benefit to Japan’s domestic contents industry; guarantee to shoot some scenes in Japan; cooperate to promote the location where the filming took place, and have some promotional value for Japan as a country.
The scheme follows a pilot program operated by Japan since 2019, which was accessed by productions including Snake Eyes, G.I. Joe Origins, Gran Turismo, upcoming A24 series Sunny, starring Rashida Jones and Jun Kunimura, and both seasons of Tokyo Vice. It was also accessed by Chinese action adventure Detective Chinatown 3.
At present, the Japanese yen is relatively weak against the US$, with today’s rate at 146 yen to the dollar, compared to a ten-year average of 114.
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