Japanese manufacturers will now be eligible for subsidies if they shift production out of China to India or Bangladesh, in an expansion of a government program aimed at diversifying the country's supply chains.
The government's supplementary budget for fiscal 2020 earmarked 23.5 billion yen ($221 million) for companies that move production to Southeast Asian nations, reports the Nikkei.
When Japan's Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry opened up a second round of applications on Thursday, it added "projects that contribute to the resilience of the Japan-ASEAN supply chain" to the list of qualifying moves, eyeing relocations to countries such as India and Bangladesh.
Manufacturers can receive subsidies for feasibility studies and pilot programs. The total amount granted is expected to run into the tens of millions of dollars.
The program aims to reduce Japan's reliance on a handful of links in its supply chains, particularly China, and ensure a steady flow of such products as medical supplies and electrical components in an emergency.
The issue came to the forefront with China's shutdown in the early days of the pandemic.
The first round of subsidies announced in July granted more than 10 billion yen to 30 companies relocating manufacturing to Southeast Asia, such as Hoya, which is moving production of electronic components to Vietnam and Laos. Another 57 are receiving support for shifting production facilities to Japan.