- I would like a consultation to learn about the process of establishing a company in Japan. How much is the consultation fee?
Our consultation fee is ¥11,000 per 30 minutes. We can provide online consultations via Skype or Zoom, and we gladly accept requests for consultations from individuals located outside of Japan.
- Can foreigners or foreign companies establish or set up a Japanese corporation or a Japanese branch?
There are no nationality requirements for establishing a Japanese corporation. Therefore, foreign nationals and companies with foreign capital can establish and set up Japanese corporations or Japanese branches in Japan.
- Is it possible for a corporation to be established with a foreign director on its board?
Yes, it is possible.
- Is it necessary for a foreigner to have an address in Japan when establishing a company in Japan?
No, it is not necessary. Even if all the representative directors reside abroad, it is possible to apply for a company registration in Japan.
- I am currently a foreign student. When is the best time for me to start a company here in Japan?
It is recommended that you incorporate the company around the date of your graduation ceremony and apply for a Business Manager Visa thereafter.
After establishing a company but before operating that company, you must acquire a Business Manager Visa. (If you fail to complete this required process, it is possible that your actions would be considered “Activity Other Than That Permitted under the Status of Residence Previously Granted”.)
Q&A: Establishment of a company
- Are there any advantages for foreigners and foreign companies to set up in Japan?
By establishing a business base in Japan, there is the advantage of ensuring credibility and making it easier to do business in Japan.
- I heard that there are various forms of corporations in Japan. What forms are there?
You heard correctly: Japan does allow for various forms of corporations. For example, there are stock companies (Kabushiki Kaisha), limited liability companies (Godo Kaisha), general incorporated associations, and incorporated nonprofit organizations (NPOs). Each form has its own characteristics; thus, we will ask you the purpose or target of your business and propose the appropriate form of corporation.
- What’s the difference between a Kabushiki Kaisha (Japanese K.K.) and a Godo Kaisha (Japanese G.K.)?
Both are forms of limited liability companies, but there are some key differences. One important distinction is that the costs (both to set up and to maintain a K.K. versus a G.K.) differ. The costs associated with a Godo Kaisha are lower than those of a Kabushiki Kaisha.
- What forms are there for foreigners and foreign companies to expand into Japan?
There are three possible methods: (i) establishing a Japanese corporation, (ii) setting up a Japanese branch (sales office), or (iii) setting up a representative office.
- What are the advantages and disadvantages of each of the three forms of expansion into Japan?
- ①In the case of establishing a Japanese corporation, it is possible to start the business smoothly as it acquires a legal personality. In addition, official documents are issued to show the existence of the legal entity, which increases its credibility. On the other hand, the disadvantage is that it is expensive to establish and operate.
- ②In the case of setting up a Japanese branch (sales office), a certain degree of creditworthiness can be obtained as official documents are issued to show the existence of the office. There is a disadvantage in that it costs some money to set up.
- ③In the case of setting up a representative office, the advantage is that no registration is required and therefore no costs are incurred. On the other hand, it has the disadvantage that it lacks credibility as there is no official documentation to prove its existence. In addition, it is not possible to open a bank account in the name of the corporation.
- How many incorporators are needed to set up a company in Japan?
Even merely 1 incorporator is acceptable.
- What amount of capital do I need to start a company?
There is no requirement for a minimum amount. You can invest merely ¥1 to set up a company if you wish.
However, the amount of capital represents the strength of the company. In the case of a newly established company, the amount of capital is directly used as an indicator of the size and credit of the company, so a certain amount is required.
If the capital is ¥10 million or more, consumption tax will be levied from the first year of establishment. Therefore, many companies are established with a capital amount of less than ¥10 million.
Besides, please note that a certain amount of capital may be required depending on the purpose of establishing the company. If you plan to obtain a Business Manager Visa, ¥5 million or more in capital is necessary. If you are going to start a recruiting and dispatching business/agency for temporary personnel, ¥20 million or more in capital is required. If you are planning to start an employment placement business/agency, your amount of capital must be ¥5 million or more.
- Can I use a bank account at an overseas branch of a Japanese bank to deposit my investment of capital?
Yes, fortunately, you can.
- How many directors are needed to set up a company in Japan?
Even merely 1 director is acceptable.
- Can I use English alphabet in the name of a company?
Yes, you can. It is permissible to not only use Japanese but also the alphabet in a company name.
- When establishing a Japanese corporation, do I have to create a seal?
It is necessary to create a representative’s seal. The representative’s seal must be registered with the registry office.
- What are Articles of Incorporation?
Articles of Incorporation are articles or clauses that describe the essential points of a company. Listed together in a single document (called the Articles of Incorporation), they cover such matters as the company’s name, the corporate purpose, and the like.
- At which notary public office do I need to have the articles of incorporation certified?
It must be done at a notary public office in the prefecture where the company's head office is located. For instance, if you plan to set up your head office in Tokyo, you must have the articles of incorporation certified at a notary public office in Tokyo.
- Where can I submit the necessary documents to register a company?
Documents must be submitted to the Regional Legal Affairs Bureau.
- To which Legal Affairs Bureau do I need to apply for registration of incorporation?
You must apply to the Legal Affairs Bureau that has jurisdiction over your company's head office location. For example, if you plan to set up your head office in Minato-ku, Tokyo, you will need to apply to the Tokyo Legal Affairs Bureau Minato Branch.
- How much does it cost to set up a company in Japan?
You must pay at least the following expenses to set up a company in addition to our legal fee:
- 1 Registration Tax ¥150,000
- 2 Certification of the Articles of Incorporation ¥50,000
- 3 Revenue Stamp ¥40,000
- How long does it take to set up a company in Japan?
The process usually takes approximately 2 to 4 weeks.
- After registering my company, do I have to report it to any particular public offices?
Yes, you do. It must be reported to the tax office and city office.
- Can I open a bank account in the name of the corporation as soon as I apply for registration of incorporation?
When you open an account at a financial institution in Japan, you need to submit a certified copy of the company registration. Therefore, you cannot open a bank account for your company until the entire registration procedure is completed.
- When setting up a representative office, is it necessary to register with the Legal Affairs Bureau?
No registration is required. As representative offices are not expected to conduct business activities in Japan, there is no need to register with the tax office.
- Is it possible to open a bank account at the representative office?
Since the representative office does not have a legal personality, it is impossible to open a bank account in the name of the representative office.
Q&A: Business Manager Visa
- Which of the three forms is the best way to obtain a business manager visa?
It is possible to obtain a business manager visa either by establishing a Japanese corporation or by setting up a Japanese branch.
- If I invest \1 and set up a company in Japan, is it possible to get a Business Manager Visa?
Unfortunately, the answer is no. If you want to obtain a Business Manager Visa, we recommend investing at least ¥5,000,000.
- Do I have to get a Business Manager Visa to set up a company in Japan?
Not necessarily. If you have one of the following visas, you do not have to acquire a Business Manager Visa:
- ① Permanent Resident Visa
- ② Spouse of Japanese National
- ③ Spouse of Permanent Resident
- ④ Long Term Resident (Japanese Descendant and his/her spouse, Child of Japanese National, and Permanent Resident)
- Currently, I have a Specialist in Humanities Visa and work for a Japanese company. I want to quit my job and start my own company. Do I have to change my visa?
Yes, you do. Your visa should be changed to a Business Manager Visa in order for you to become a director and start your own business.
- Is it possible to acquire a Business Manager Visa by registering your own home or virtual office as the company office?
The examination will be quite strict if you plan to turn part of the property you are using as a residence into an office. For a greater chance of approval, we recommend that you establish your office in a separate location from your home residence.
- I’m a university student now. I want to start my own business as soon as possible. If I quit my university now, would it be possible to get a Business Manager Visa?
Yes, it would be possible. A post-secondary degree is not a prerequisite for obtaining a Business Manager Visa.
Q&A: Financial support
- When borrowing from a financial institution, which form of expansion is preferred?
The best option is to establish a Japanese corporation. There are two main types of Japanese corporations: joint-stock companies and limited liability companies, but there is little difference between the two in terms of financing in the early stages of incorporation.
- I’m not Japanese. Do I have a chance to get a loan from a bank to start my own business?
Yes, you do. You can apply for a loan from Japan Finance Corporation, which is a bank established by the Japanese government.
- How much money might I be able to borrow?
The loan amount depends on the case. The average amount is between ¥3,000,000 and ¥10,000,000.
- How long does it take to get a loan from Japan Finance Corporation?
It usually takes 2 to 3 weeks from the date of the interview.
- After starting a business in Japan, what kinds of taxes do I have to pay?
There are several types of taxes imposed on a company established in Japan. These include corporate taxes, enterprise taxes, consumption taxes, and the like.
- If I set up a company in Japan, can I buy properties in Japan even if I am the only shareholder of the company?
Yes, it is possible to do so. We can provide support to you not only in finding and buying property but also in obtaining a loan from a bank.