Nintendo has always been a bit of a walled garden in regards to their public image, in that their hesitant to allow anything be a part of the Nintendo brand if it’s not under their control. Just take a look at how resistant to online features Nintendo has been in regards to the Wii with friend codes.
To increase the library of games on the Wii U, efforts have been made to make it easier for indie to develop on the Nintendo platform. The process of partnering with Nintendo has been made easier, licensing fees for using the Unity Engine on Wii U has been waved, and the partnering prerequisites now only require a business license.
This is a good thing for both parties. Indies have less red tape to wade through so they can spend more time on game development, and Nintendo gets more games to make up for the lack of 3rd party support from big publishers. Sadly this doesn’t seem to apply in Japan. Nintendo’s licensing department is currently not accepting any Japanese indie developers for partnership. Nintendo issued a statement to Eurogamer regarding the problem.
“The policy in question is the decision of Nintendo’s department responsible for licensing activities in each region, and the licensing department of Nintendo is currently not accepting subject applications from individuals in Japan.“
The response doesn’t really clear up much, it’s just a rephrasing of what’s already known. Without anymore information it’s all speculation from here on out. Is it due to a lack of a thriving indie scene, or are the games being made not appeal to a more global market? That would be hard to believe as games like Cave Story, La Mulana, and Recettear, all began as free downloadable games that through their popularity received the publishing treatment. It may be that Nintendo is just taking a different approach when it comes to their home turf.