How long does it take between consultation and setting up business?

The duration to establishment will depend on whether or not you have the necessary documents such as certificate of signature.

Many cases require one to two months from consultation. Foreign nationals residing in Japan, who can readily obtain a company seal impression certificate, may be able to set up business in one week. We work with a certified administrative procedures legal specialist corporation for quick, smooth establishment.

When applying for status of residence under Tokyo’s “Program to increase foreign entrepreneurs,” how long does it take to obtain an entry permit into Japan?

It will take one to three months after submitting your three-year business plan to Tokyo. Note, however, that the screening period varies on a case-by-case basis.

Under ordinary regulations, foreign nationals wishing to set up business in Tokyo must first establish the business, then apply for a business manager visa, and wait for three to six months during screening to receive an entry permit into Japan. This entails a loss: if you rent an office at the time of establishment, you would need to continue paying rent until you receive the entry permit.
We recommend the Tokyo Metropolitan Government’s new program because it allows you to first enter into Japan, and then make preparations for setting up business with support from the Tokyo government.
We provide support by completing all procedures on your behalf, from preparation of the three-year business plan for Tokyo to application with the Immigration Bureau.

Simply leave everything to us, as we are well acquainted with application procedures under Tokyo’s “Program to increase foreign entrepreneurs.”

I live abroad. Can I set up business in Japan?

Yes, you can. Regulations have been revised so that a company may be established even if the representative director does not have an address in Japan.

However, the account to which you remit capital must be at a financial institution established with authorization from the Japanese Financial Services Agency. This may be a bank in your home country with a branch office in Japan. We can recommend a bank we work with regularly, or provide nominee services involving the appointment of a temporary representative director. Please consult us about the latter service, as it comes with several conditions.

Must a foreign national setting up business in Japan always obtain a visa?

No, a visa is not an absolute requirement. Some foreign nationals run their business from abroad, and visit Japan only several times a year on a tourist visa. If you wish to operate in Japan over an extended period of time, however, you must apply for a visa.

Can I complete registration of incorporation in Japan using a virtual office as the head office address?

Registration of incorporation may be completed with any address. Using a virtual office as your head office address, in itself, does not present a problem.

However, the securing of a physical office space will be a requirement after establishment, for instance if you wish to apply for a business manager visa or invite foreign employees from the parent company abroad to work in Japan.

Certain operations that require permits and licenses also may not accept a virtual office as an address. Please consult us if this applies to you.

When setting up a subsidiary, can I register the trade name in Roman alphabet, to match the parent company in the home country?

Yes, you can. Numerals, hyphens, commas, bullet points, and other symbols are also acceptable in the trade name of a subsidiary. Note, however, that “Kabushiki Kaisha” must appear before, in, or after the trade name.

Must everyone setting up business in Japan always make a company seal?

Yes, making a company seal is a requirement before applying for registration of incorporation. Our services include a three-item package of representative’s seal, bank seal, and square company seal.

Should I establish a subsidiary or a branch office?

This would depend on the purpose of your business activities in Japan. Please contact us for a consultation, and we will recommend the best type of operation for you.

Note that a branch office does not require capital and thus involves fewer expenses at the time of establishment. Taxes will be high, however, if the parent company in the home country has a large capital.

Should I establish a Kabushiki Kaisha (joint stock company) or a Godo Kaisha (limited liability company)? I plan to set up business in Japan and obtain a business manager visa.

As far as obtaining a business manager visa is concerned, neither is better or worse than the other. We recommend Kabushiki Kaisha if you are considering going public in future, and separating shareholders from management.

Godo Kaisha offers advantages for smaller operations such as sole proprietorships, as it involves fewer expenses at the time of establishment, and the articles of incorporation may be amended at will.

I like the number “8(eight)”, so is it possible to establish a company by having ¥88 as our capital?

By the Japanese Cooperate Law, there are no limits in how much you maintain as your capital, so it is possible for you to establish a company from ¥1. However, by establishing a company that way, the credibility of that company will be low. There is a chance that the company could maintain the credibility by the original techniques and experiences but if the capital amount is extremely low, it will be hard to open a cooperate account. It is recommended to set your capital amount enough to keep your business going from the starting point up to 6 months.

Is there any legal duty to obtain the AOI (Articles of the Incorporate)?

By the Japanese Corporate Law Article 31, it is required that the AOI to be kept at the registered headquarters or at the branch office.

Please tell me about the Director’s obligation and responsibility by the Japanese Corporate Law.

The most important responsibility that the Director owe is called “Zenkan Chu-I gimu” meaning a “Duty of Care.” By being a professional at managing a business and running the business, it is required to take responsible for the fiducial duty towards to the shareholders, staffs, and the public in general. There are rules that restricts for the Directors to come in conflict against its own company, but in reality, Directors that has a contract with the company has their own discretion among managing the business.

There are three Directors. If one of the Director acts over the rights, what are the responsibility towards that Director’s act?

If there is any loss toward the third party, it is the Director’s responsibility to compensate the loss. For example, if Director A takes away the creditor’s money, the director’s are responsible for that loss.

There are three directors. If there is any loss caused by act of one of the directors, does the other director’s that was not involved in the act has to take responsible for that loss. If so, what kind of responsible is there to take?

The director that caused the loss must take responsibility. Other directors that were not involved in the act would not have to take responsibility if there was no serious negligence to that act.

However, if for example Director A has taken away money and Director B had a chance to find out about A’s act, B has a serious negligence toward not stopping A’s act and will need to take responsible for that loss. So, it becomes a joint liability between A and B. In other word, if you are doing your duty in integrity, that you won’t have to take responsibility for the other’s act.

I’m thinking of renting a property with a three-month contract with an automatic renewal for my business management visa. Will that be a problem?

A three-month contract is too short. Even if the contract is automatically renewed every month, the Immigration Bureau may judge that the business is not sustainable. For this reason, we recommend a contract of at least one year.

I changed my last name after marriage, so my name on my diploma and passport are different. Will that be any problem?

You will need to submit a document that shows the connection between your maiden name and your current name, such as a marriage certificate.

Is it possible for a foreigner who entered using the system of the Tokyo Start-up visa to apply for permission to change his/her status to ‘Highly Specialised Worker (No. 1 (c))’ instead of applying for permission to renew the period after six months of Tokyo start-up activities?

Yes, it is possible.

If the applicant fulfils the conditions, it is possible to apply for permission to change status to ‘highly specialised profession (No. 1(c)’.

It is possible to check whether the conditions have been fulfilled using the points calculation table and the website of the Immigration Beaurow.

However, there are many cases where a self-made point calculation has shown that you do not fall under the category of highly specialised professional. You can smoothly change your status of residence by requesting a specialised administrative lawyer.

What is the system of human resources for future creation (J-Find) introduced in April 2023?

Graduates of outstanding overseas universities, etc. who are engaged in ’employment activities’ or ‘preparatory activities for starting a business’ in Japan are granted the status of residence ‘specified activities’ (future creative human resources), which allows them to stay in Japan for up to two years.

The following three conditions must be met by eligible applicants.

(i) Graduated from a university ranked in the top 100 in two or more of the three world university rankings, or completed a postgraduate course at a university and received a degree or professional degree.

(ii) Within five years of graduation.

(iii) Possession of 200,000 yen worth of living expenses at the beginning of their stay.

If you fulfil these conditions, you will be granted the status of residence “specified activities” for a maximum of two years, which allows you to prepare for entrepreneurship and job-hunting activities as well as to work part-time or other employment. This allows them to change direction, for example, from preparing to start a business to working for a company as it is more suitable for them. For young people, who are the future, a residence status that allows them to explore their options while still in Japan is very attractive.

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