The Small Business Administration and Federal Express, in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Commerce/Foreign Commercial Service, is sponsoring a 15-member trade mission for small businesses to Tokyo and Osaka, Japan, May 8-19.

Participants are being recruited from medical equipment and instrument industries, which have good sales potential in Japan, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce.To qualify for the mission, companies must meet SBA size standards (generally fewer than 500 employees), be new to the Japanese market and be financially and managerially capable of sustaining a presence in those markets.

SBA officials said the selection will be competitive, based on sales potential of the applicant's products and the perceived capacity of the company to succeed in those markets.

The cost is $3,000 for each participant, which includes roundtrip airfare from the West Coast, hotel for eight nights, ground transportation in Japan, briefings, scheduled business appointments and special hosted events. An optional trip to Hong Kong is available for an additional $700.

Co-sponsor Federal Express is contributing money to lower the cost for each participating firm. In exchange for the help, each company official must submit a report on the results of the mission and make recommendations on how to penetrate the Japanese market for small businesses in the same industry.

For application deadline is March 1 and more information can be obtained by calling Steve Price in the Utah SBA office, (801) 524-3222.