Small and medium enterprise (SME) policy in Japan has changed significantly since the 1980s. A central step was the substantial revision of the ‘Small and Medium Enterprise Basic Law’ in 1999. The revised law aims at supporting venture businesses, hereby giving up the stance that SMEs are weak business entities. Moreover, a new expectation towards SMEs was expressed, namely their support of the Japanese economy by creation of employment and innovation. Concretely, the revised law mentioned four aims: the creation of new industries, the increase of job opportunities, the promotion of market competition and the vitalization of the regional economy. An important reason for the change of expectations towards SMEs, was the ongoing globalization starting in the 1980s, which led to a reorganization and change of the hitherto keiretsu (enterprise groups) structures.