Embarking on the journey of relocating to Japan through the establishment of a company involves a multi-step process that offers a unique pathway for entrepreneurs to immerse themselves in one of the world’s most dynamic economies. This process combines the excitement of creating a new business venture with the experience of immersing oneself in Japanese culture and society. It involves several crucial steps, including securing a Startup Visa, arriving in Japan and preparing the necessary documents to open a company, registering the company, obtaining an Investor Visa, opening a corporate bank account, and, if applicable, obtaining a Secondhand Dealer Certificate. Each stage requires meticulous preparation and attention to detail to ensure a seamless transition into the Japanese business landscape. This guide will elucidate each of these steps to provide a comprehensive understanding of the process.
Before we delve into the detailed steps involved in moving to Japan through company formation, it’s important to understand the significance of this endeavor. Japan, being the third-largest economy in the world, offers a wealth of opportunities for entrepreneurs. Its unique combination of tradition and innovation presents a vibrant landscape for business growth. Establishing a company in Japan is not just about starting a business; it’s about immersing yourself in a rich culture, contributing to a dynamic economy, and exploring uncharted territories of personal and professional growth. Now, let’s explore the specific steps involved in this exciting journey.
Step 1: Initiation of the Startup Visa
The commencement of the Startup Visa process is to be initiated from within Japan. Our representative attorneys at JR & Firm, based in Tokyo, will spearhead this process on behalf of our clients. The duration of this process is expected to span between 1 to 3 months.
The Startup Visa program is designed as a temporary residence permit for entrepreneurs intending to establish a business within Japan. The permit is valid for a period ranging from 6 months to 1 year.
During the initiation of the Startup Visa process, we require our clients to furnish the following documents:
- Proof of residence in Japan for a duration of 6 months post-arrival. This could be in the form of a rental agreement or an application for the same. (Assistance will be provided by JR & Firm for this process)
- Bank statements spanning the previous 3-6 months, demonstrating a sufficient balance. (Required balance is $45,000)
- Salary statements or pay slips from the past 12 months.
- A comprehensive business plan drafted in English or Japanese. (JR & Firm is equipped to provide assistance in this process)
- Proof of 1 year of business experience. This could be evidenced by contracts, experience letters, and other relevant documents.
- A photocopy of the client’s passport.
- Any additional supplementary documents required for Know Your Customer (KYC) procedures.
Upon approval of the Startup Visa from within Japan, our clients are then eligible to apply for the visa at the Japanese embassy in their home country. Once the visa is granted, they can proceed to travel to Japan to continue with the rest of the process.
Step 2: Arrival in Japan and Documentation Preparation for Company Incorporation
This phase of the process is anticipated to take approximately 20 days.
Upon arrival in Japan, clients will be required to undertake several necessary actions to facilitate the company’s establishment. JR & Firm will provide assistance throughout this phase as well. The steps involved include:
- Opening a personal bank account in Japan.
- Procuring a personal stamp (Hanko), a requirement in Japan for authenticating documents.
- Creating a company stamp, used to legitimize corporate documents.
- Securing an office location for the company’s registration, necessitating a lease agreement for a minimum duration of 12 months.
Once the personal bank account has been successfully set up, clients will be required to transfer the pre-agreed capital of 500,000 yen (approximately $45,000) into their Japanese account. This transaction serves as evidence of their financial capability to initiate the proposed business venture.
Step 3. Company registration
The company registration process is expected to span approximately 25 days.
Clients have the opportunity to select from one of the following company types for their enterprise in Japan. JR & Firm will manage the entire registration process:
- A) Corporation (Kabushiki Kaisha): This is the most prevalent type of business structure in Japan. B) Limited Liability Company (Godo Kaisha): This is a less common business structure in Japan.
Upon successful registration of the company, JR & Firm will proceed to handle the tax registration for the newly established entity.
Step 4: Securing the Investor Visa
This phase may present the most significant challenges in the entire process and may extend up to 7 months, contingent on the current workload of the immigration office.
The documents required for this step include:
- Contracts with prospective clients and suppliers: The investor will need to demonstrate a genuine intent to conduct the proposed business in Japan, which necessitates the signing of agreements with potential clients and suppliers.
- A copy of the client’s Japanese bank account passbook: This serves as proof that the investor has indeed received the 5,000,000 yen necessary to commence the business operation in Japan. Additionally, the client will need to verify the origin of these funds by presenting bank statements from their home country.
Step 5: Opening of Corporate Bank Account
This stage of the process is anticipated to take approximately three months.
The necessary documentation for this step includes:
- A comprehensive Business Plan or a detailed outline of proposed business activities.
- A current statement of the client’s personal account to demonstrate the capital amount of $45,000.
- Proof of the company’s activities, which can be substantiated with contracts or other relevant business documents.
Step 6: Specific Provisions for Businesses Dealing in Secondhand Items
For clients whose business operations involve the trade of secondhand items, there is an additional step. This includes registering with the local police authority and obtaining a Secondhand Dealer Certificate, a process which typically takes 15-20 days.
Please note that under the Secondhand Articles Dealer Law, both corporations and individuals are mandated to possess a Secondhand Dealer License in order to legally buy, sell, or exchange secondhand goods in Japan.
We understand that the process of moving to Japan through company formation can appear daunting given its complexity and the level of detail required. However, we want to assure our clients that there is no need for apprehension. At JR & Firm, we specialize in simplifying this intricate process, providing comprehensive assistance from start to finish. Our team of experts is well-versed in the various stages of this process, and we are committed to making your transition as smooth as possible. By leveraging our extensive experience and resources, we navigate the regulatory landscape, paperwork, and logistical intricacies on your behalf, ensuring your journey to establishing a business in Japan is not just achievable, but also enjoyable. With JR & Firm, you can focus on the exciting aspects of this new venture while we handle the complexities.
Can I start any type of business in Japan?
Yes, you can start any type of business in Japan as long as it complies with Japanese laws and regulations.
What's a Japan Startup Visa?
A Startup Visa is a temporary residence permit for entrepreneurs who want to start a business in Japan.
How long does the Startup Visa last?
The Startup Visa validity ranges from 6 months to 1 year.
What's involved in company registration in Japan?
Company registration involves choosing a business structure, preparing necessary documents, and registering with the Japanese legal affairs bureau.
What types of companies can I form in Japan?
You can form a Corporation (Kabushiki Kaisha) or a Limited Liability Company (Godo Kaisha) in Japan.
How long does the company registration process take?
The company registration process usually takes about 25 days.
What is an Investor Visa?
An Investor Visa is a type of residence status in Japan for individuals who invest in and manage businesses in the country.
How long does the Investor Visa process take?
The Investor Visa process can take up to 7 months depending on the workload of the immigration office.
How long does it take to open a corporate bank account in Japan?
Opening a corporate bank account in Japan typically takes about 3 months.
Do I need a Japanese bank account to start a business in Japan?
Yes, you will need to open a personal bank account in Japan to show that you have the capital to start the business.
What is a Secondhand Dealer Certificate?
A Secondhand Dealer Certificate is required for businesses dealing in secondhand items in Japan.
How long does it take to get a Secondhand Dealer Certificate?
It typically takes 15-20 days to obtain a Secondhand Dealer Certificate.
Do I need to know Japanese to start a business in Japan?
While it’s not a strict requirement, knowing Japanese can be beneficial in navigating the business landscape.
Can JR & Firm assist with the entire process of moving to Japan through company formation?
Yes, JR & Firm can assist with the entire process from securing a Startup Visa to registering your company.
Can I move my existing business to Japan?
Yes, you can expand your existing business to Japan, although specific regulations will apply.
How much capital is required to start a business in Japan?
You are required to show a capital amount of 5,000,000 yen (approximately $45,000) in your Japanese bank account.
What documents are required to move to Japan through company formation?
Various documents are required, including a business plan, contracts with potential clients and suppliers, bank statements, and a copy of your passport, among others.
Can I get permanent residency in Japan through company formation?
Yes, after living and running your business in Japan for a certain period, you may apply for permanent residency.
Can my family move with me to Japan?
Yes, your family can move with you to Japan. They will need to apply for the appropriate visas.
Can I work in Japan while my company formation is in process?
Yes, but you will need to have the appropriate visa that allows you to work in Japan.
Jasur Mavlyanov, an experienced entrepreneur and legal expert, has built a notable career in international business, with a focus on China. With over 13 years of experience living and working in China, Mavlyanov has acquired valuable insights into the Chinese legal system and business environment.
As an entrepreneur, Jasur founded JR & Firm LLC, a company dedicated to providing legal services to global clients entering the Chinese market. His leadership has helped the firm become a reliable partner for businesses navigating the complexities of Chinese regulations and laws. READ MORE about Jasur.