How to Start a Business in Japan

by Megan Mattingly-Arthur; Updated September 26, 2017

Starting a business in a foreign country can be very different from starting a business in the United States. It's important to know all the requirements, regulations and procedures before you begin so that you can avoid running into difficulties along the way. Though starting a business in Japan is a bit different from starting a business in the United States, the guidelines are straightforward and not too difficult to follow. After reading these few steps you'll be on your way to starting your Japanese business in no time.

Step 1

Meet with a seal carver to have a representative member or executive member seal made. You will use this seal in many, if not all, of your Japanese business transactions. Give some thought to what you would like your business seal to look like and then make an appointment with a seal carver to have it crafted for you. The cost to have an executive member seal made can be up to 20,000 Japanese yen.

Step 2

Apply in person at your local ward's office to receive a certificate of seal registration. A registered seal and a certificate of registration are required to complete any and all legal contracts in Japan. To register your seal you will need apply in person and present your seal as well as a certificate of alien registration. Seal registration can usually be completed in one business day and costs around 400 Japanese yen for each seal being registered.

Step 3

Register your business with the Legal Affairs Bureau of the Ministry of Justice. You will need to complete and submit an application for company registration as well as provide supporting documents such as Articles of Incorporation and certificate of seal registration. This step is the most time-consuming, with the registration process taking anywhere from one to three weeks to complete. This step is also the most costly step. The cost to complete the registration of your business with the Legal Affairs Bureau of the Ministry of Justice is either 0.7 percent of your business capital, or 60,000 Japanese yen, whichever is higher.

Step 4

File your paperwork with the District Tax Office. You must file the notification of the incorporation of your company within two months of the date of incorporation. You will also need to file a notification of the opening of a payroll office within one month of the office being opened. You also will need to file an application for the approval of blue tax returns, which must be done within three months of the date of incorporation. These notifications and applications are filed with the District Tax Office. The application and filings can usually be completed in one business day and there is no cost to file.

Step 5

File a notification of the commencement of business with your local tax office. This important step needs to be completed within 15 days after the commencement of business. Filing your notification of the commencement of your business should only take about one business day to complete and there is no cost to file this particular paperwork.

Step 6

Submit proper paperwork to the Labor Standards Supervisory Office. If your company has 10 or more employees, you will be required to submit employment regulations as well as notifications of the start of business and labor insurance. Your employment regulations must outline work hours, wage payment method, paid vacation, severance, benefits, bonuses and retirement payments. This paperwork must be submitted as soon as your company has 10 or more employees. The paperwork can usually be filed in one business day and, again, there is no cost to file.

Step 7

Submit appropriate applications to the Social Insurance Office. You will need to submit applications for both health insurance and public welfare pension as soon as possible after incorporating your business. The paperwork takes about one day to file and, again, there is no filing fee.

Step 8

File your insurance applications with the Public Employment Security Office. Applications for workman accident compensation insurance and employment insurance should be filed with the Public Employment Security Office no later than the 10th day of the month that immediately follows the month in which employment began. This paperwork takes one business day to file and there is no charge.

Tips

  • Rather than make three separate trips to file paperwork with the District Tax Office, coordinate your application and notifications so that you can make one simple trip instead.

Warnings

  • Be sure to file your applicable paperwork for starting a business in Japan before the deadlines given to avoid penalties.

Resources

About the Author

Megan Mattingly-Arthur has been writing professionally since 1998. She has contributed to various publications, including "Teen Voices" and "Positive Teens" magazines, as well as a book, "The Young Writer's Guide to Getting Published." Mattingly-Arthur is studying travel and tourism through Penn Foster Career School.

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