Starting a Business in Japan
Japan is a bustling country with a rich and beautiful culture. It also has many economic opportunities. If you have always wanted to live in Japan, then why not consider starting your own business there?
There is a long and complicated process foreign entrepreneurs in Japan must follow to start a company. In this guide, we will go over how to set up your own company in Japan if you are not currently a resident.
Why Start a Business in Japan?
Japan has the third strongest economy in the world, right after the United States and China. The country also has agreements in place with several countries that promote free trade.
Japan also has some of the lowest average tariffs in the world on foreign goods. The country also has a highly educated population of discerning customers who love innovative products. And there is no shortage of hard-working and capable potential employees.
Do you have specific questions about starting a business in Japan? Browsing through qualified bilingual Advisors in Japan is one way to get to the core of your concerns.
How Foreigners Can Start a Business in Japan
The method for starting a business in Japan depends on several factors. The type of business you start, whether you want to live there, and whether you are starting a new business or expanding an existing one. In the next few sections, we will go over the most important aspects of starting a company in Japan.
How to Immigrate to Japan and Start a Business
If you’re planning on moving to Japan, the first thing you will need to do is get the right visa. If you already have a visa (like a working visa), you can use that to start your business (you will still need to transfer to a business one eventually), but if not, you will need to get a business visa.
Business Manager Visa
The four-month Business Manager Visa requires your business to have an initial capital of at least 5 million Yen and have two or more employees who live in Japan. To apply, submit your passport, proof of business insurance, and several documents regarding your company to the Japanese Immigration Bureau.
This allows you to set up a bank account, get your business registered, and apply for a residence card. You will also need to secure a business space in Japan. After the visa expires, you can apply for a one-year extension.
The Startup Visa does not require you to have employees in Japan or 5 million Yen, but it is not widely available. You can only get it in select cities like Tokyo, Hiroshima, and Niigata City. The visa is valid for six months to a year, depending on where you are located. To get it, you will have to hire an administrative scrivener (gyosei shoshi), or immigration expert, to submit your paperwork for you.
You can apply for an Investor Visa from outside Japan. It can last one to five years. Whether you can renew it will depend on the success of your business. It requires your business to be pretty far along in terms of organization. Some entrepreneurs get a Business Manager Visa first and change to an Investor Visa when their company is set up. Below is a list of documents you will need to get an Investor Visa:
- Information about company investments
- A complete business plan (in Japanese)
- Registration paperwork for your company
- Any business licenses you have
- Contracts for office rentals
- Your work and professional history
- Paperwork for your employees
Receiving any of these visas can be a drawn-out process. It is best to apply for them well in advance of starting your business. In particular, the Investor Visa can take a long time to attain.
To get the Investor Visa, you have to first apply for a certificate of eligibility (COE) with the immigration office, which can take up to three months. Then, you have to trade your COE for an investor status of residence (SOR) at the Embassy of Japan, which can take another few weeks. A lot of time and effort goes into getting a work visa in Japan. Generally, the right expert can help you get through the process without making costly mistakes.