Setting up a business in Japan

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Updated 2020-04-10 15:05

Japan is an attractive destination for international expatriates looking for a rich professional landscape, but what if you wanted to create your own business in the Land of the Rising Sun?

Visas to invest in or create a company in Japan

In Japan, it's not possible to create a business without having the appropriate visa status. Several options are available:

The investor visa (investor / business manager): this allows you to create a company, under certain conditions.

  • You must have a business address in Japan: an office in the territory which is different from your home address.
  • You must have starting capital: an investment of ¥ 5,000,000 (more than 42,000 euros).

These two prerequisites can significantly slow down the launch of your business or even departure from home.

The "self-sponsor" visa: allows you, as the name suggests, to self-sponsor.

Requirements:

  • To be able to justify at least ¥ 3,000,000 in annual income (around € 25,300). Objective: to show the immigration services that you can support yourself in Japan.
  • Have an employer who will sponsor your visa renewal application. The procedure is different from traditional sponsoring: here, the employer will not pay anything. They will fill out a simple document, and inform the authorities about their number of employees, capital, etc.
  • Fill in the form: kojin jigyo nushi yourself.

The spouse visa: you can also create your own business with your spouse visa. Advantages include: no personal contribution and the ease of registration as a self-employed person.

Working visa: you can also, under certain conditions, create your company while being an employee in Japan.

Self-organisation: the kojin jigyo

The fastest and most economical solution is to attain self-employed status, making it possible to start your business activities more quickly. In principle, attaining this status is a quick and simple process, and means a simplified tax return and no corporate tax to pay. The Chamber of Commerce and Industry can also help you create your business for free.

 Warning:

This status is only suitable for people working alone. As soon as you hire an employee, you will have to change your legal status. You will also not be able to have a business bank account under this status. Your responsibility is unlimited: in case of gains or loss, you are responsible.

 Good to know:

If you earn more than ¥ 10,000,000 per year, your taxation will be less advantageous than that of a traditional company.

Creating your company in Japan

There are two main types of legal status of companies in Japan:

  • The kabushiki gaisha: a joint-stock company (close to a public limited company). Expect to pay around ¥ 370,000 for its creation (about 3,100 euros).
  • Godo gaisha: This is a limited liability company. The initial contribution is lower: 200,000 yen (about 1,600 euros).

Again, don't hesitate to seek the help of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry to determine which legal status is best for your business.

 Good to know:

Through market research, define your target and determine your business strategy. Create and maintain a network that will help you get known in Japan. Create a profile on professional networks, sign up for entrepreneur associations, and attend trade shows.

 Useful links:

JETRO: starting a business in Japan
Japan visa
Japan Entrepreneurs and Presidents Association

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