Setting up a business

There are several types of business entity in Japan as shown below:

  • Gomei Kaisha (Unlimited Partnership)
  • Goshi Kaisha (Limited Partnership)
  • Godo Kaisha (Limited Liability Company)
  • Yugen Sekinin Jigyo Kumiai (Limited Liability Partner)
  • Chuzai Jimusho (Representative Office)
  • Kabushiki Kaisha (Company Limited)

Kabushiki Kaisha or KK is the most common business entity in Japan. In the past, it requires at least 10 million Yen capital, but the capital requirement is abolished as a result of major changes in Japanese Corporate Law in 2005. Technically, you can set up a business in Japan for 1 yen capital now but you have to be patient…

Godo Kaisha (LLP) is another popular business entity for business starters as it is relatively inexpensive to set up and easier to manage as the responsibility of the LLC membership is limited and no board meeting is necessary. However, LLC is not a public entity so KK is known to be more trustworthy in the business world. In case you have studied in Japan, you may have already learned some basics of setting up a business in Japan.

Foreigners who have visas with no limit in work status such as permanent resident and Spouse of Japanese nationals can set up and manage any business just like Japanese. Those who retain investor/business manager visa are also eligible to manage a business in Japan although there are some requirements to obtain the investor/business manager visa such as at least 5 million Yen capital to start a business.

It is pretty complicated for foreigners to set up a business in Japan. Starting a restaurant with home country food is one of the most popular business among foreigners (together with getting a job in the Japanese Education System), but they need to get an investor/business manager visa, open a bank account to prove sufficient capital, permit to open and run a restaurant and file the articles of corporation in Japanese with the Office of a Notary.

Surprisingly, one of toughest thing is to get is proof of capital from the bank as most Japanese banks are hesitant to issue such proof to a new customer. You may want to find a local partner who can take care of all these hurdles to start your business in Japan. It is such an irony that the Japanese government has been running a campaign for “Invest in Japan”, but the reality is completely otherwise and very difficult for those who want to enter the Japanese market.

Japanese Immigration

The Japanese Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition Law mandate the regulation of entry and residence for foreigners. Foreign nationals living in Japan are authorized to engage in designated activities which falls under their status of residence granted at the time of their entry and they can stay in Japan within the period of stay determined in accordance with their status of residence. See also this post: How to Live a Greener Life, also in Japan.

All foreign nationals need to carry either their passports or certificate of alien registration known as “gaijin card” issued at the ward or city office that control their residence. If foreign nationals want to change their status of residence, renew their visas, or receive reentry permit, you need to go to the local immigration bureau. You may want to bring your portable game or manga while you are waiting for your turn at the notoriously crowded immigration bureau.