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How to set up your business in Japan?

We have many contacts from foreign companies asking about the set-up process in Japan.

Here are the basic processes.

1. Create an Articles of Incorporation

The first step is to create an Articles of Incorporation. There are several items that would need to be included in the Articles of Incorporation; however, to keep it simple, there is a template that can be applied to any companies.

You would need to determine the following.

- Name of the company

- Amount of capital (minimum capital requirement in Japan is 1 yen)

- Business domain

- Directors

2. Preparation of Signature Certificate and Residency Certificate

A non-resident who is willing to set up a corporation in Japan would need to obtain a Signature Certificate and a Residency Certificate in his/her residing country.

If you do not have an official Signature Certificate issued from authorities in your country, it is required to appear at the notary office in Japan to obtain a Signature Certificate.

3. Proof of Capital Contribution

A proof of capital contribution (i.e. a copy of bank statement) is required to be submitted to the Legal Affairs Bureau. The payment needs to be done to one of the founders' bank accounts. Moreover, the bank account needs to be one of the following.

- Japanese banks

- Japan branch of foreign banks

4. Notarization of the Articles of Incorporation

All of the above documents will be submitted to the Legal Affairs Bureau. The Legal Affairs Bureau will scrutinize the information/documents. After the approval, the corporate registration will be completed in about 2 weeks.

5. Creating a corporate stamp

In Japan, a company needs to create corporate stamps. There are three types of stamps differentiated by the purposes.

- Registered company stamp

- Bank stamp

- Square stamp

The important stamps are a registered company stamp and a bank stamp. The square stamp is used for paper invoices as a business custom but does not have a substantial meaning to it. It comes together with the other stamps when you order stamps.

6. Opening a bank account

For non-residents, opening a bank account is one of the most challenging process in the company set-up processes.

Major banks do not let non-residents open a bank account in Japan. Therefore, non-resident would need to appoint an agent by providing PoA. The lawyers can help this. It will be smooth if you have someone in Japan to become a director of the company.

If you would like to find out more details, please contact us!

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