Economy key to Japanese election
14 December 2012 Last updated at 03:15 GMT
With Japan's parliamentary elections just days away, restaurant owner Kunio Ueno tells the BBC that business has never been so bad.
He, along with other small business owners, is concerned about plans to double sales tax from 5% to 10%.
Free trade agreements leading to cheaper imports and the future of nuclear power following the Fukushima disaster last year are also key areas for small businesses in the run up to the election.
But economists argue that tough decisions are needed to get the Japanese economy back on track.
The BBC's Mariko Oi reports from Tokyo.