Information Releases

Survey of Corporate Attitudes towards Business Succession (August 2021)

Half of the companies say the transition to a successor will take ‘over three years’.
— 8.7% of the companies experienced a change in awareness of business succession under the influence of COVID-19 —


Business owners are aging. As of 2020, the nationwide absence rate of successors stood at 65.1% (Teikoku Databank Survey on trend of “the absence rate of successors” in companies nationwide released in November 2020), and the business succession problem due to the absence of a successor has become more apparent than ever. On the other hand, the government allocated nearly ten billion yen as business succession support in the 2021 budget, and launched the one-stop system to support business succession and M&A in April. Support measures, mainly focusing on the government-led, push-type support that actively reaches out to companies, are further promoted.

Teikoku Databank has conducted a survey on corporate attitudes towards business succession. This survey was conducted in conjunction with the August 2021 TDB Trends Research.

*Survey period: August 18 – August 31, 2021, Companies Surveyed: 24,458, Valid Responses: 11,170 (Response Rate: 45.7%).

*This survey for business succession is the 4th such survey, following that in May 2021.

*Details of this survey can be found on the dedicated Economic Trend Survey website (

Primary points of survey results(summary)

  1. 1 When asked about the transition period to a successor upon taking over a business, companies saying it will take ‘over three years’ accounted for over half, at 51.9%. Looking at the breakdown of that, the percentage of companies saying ‘about three to five years’ was the highest, at 26.9%, followed by ‘about six to nine years’, at 13.8%.
  2. 2 By breaking down the transition period to a successor by company size, 41.0% of ‘large companies’ said over three years, whereas 54.1% of ‘SMEs’, and 55.7% of ‘small companies’. Those percentages were high,and exceeded the overall percentage (51.9%).
  3. 3 By breaking down the transition period to a successor by industry, the percentage of those saying it will take over three years was the highest in “Construction”, at 59.9%. The same trend was observed in the breakdown of those saying “after six to nine years” or “more than ten years”. “Manufacture” and “Wholesale” followed at 54.8% and 52.2%, respectively. On the other hand, the percentages in “Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries” (32.1%) and “Finance” (23.6%) were low compared to other industries.
  4. 4 When asked about any change in awareness of business succession while the social situation has drastically changed due to the spread of COVID-19 infections since February 2020, 79.8% responded ‘no change’. On the other hand, 8.7% of companies experienced ‘a change in awareness’, such as ‘accelerate the timing of taking over the business’(3.5%), and ‘postpone the timing of taking over the business’(4.3%).
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