Options for Visas

To be honest, the 4 month business manager visa may not be feasible for entrepreneurs engaging in business for the first time as such people do not know the market in Japan and may need to stay longer initially.

Rather, if you are just beginning, you might need to undertake some university study or obtain work experience in Japan to learn the ins and outs of the business world in Japan. It is also important to network with many people who might be able to help you later.

Please note that the statuses of “working holiday”, “college student” and “engineer and specialist in humanities/international services” are subject to limited activities with respect to paid work. If you need to work beyond the scope of your permitted activities, you need to apply for Permission to Engage in Activity Other Than That Permitted under the Status of Residence Previously Granted. As such processes are generally discussed, I will not explain in detail. Please consult with specialists.

However, preparation for business ventures is an important issue. If you work in a company or study at a university, you may want to use your remaining time to undertake preparations. If you gain profit from such preparation, you might be again subject to penalties and/or sanctions, so please also consult with specialists.

Note that there are some exceptions under Article 19-3 of the Ordinance for Enforcement of the Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition Act such as rewards, prize money and other payments for the following activities not given on a regular basis:

  1. Lectures, classes, discussions and other similar activities
  2. Advice, appraisal and other similar activities
  3. Production of novels, papers,pictures,photographs, programs and other works.
  4. Participation in events, appearance in movies or broadcasting programs and other similar activities.

Please note these exceptions are applied in a strict manner and with the discretion of the authorities, so it is desirable that you interpret them on a narrow basis.

As a rule of thumb however, if the activities are other than that applicable to the status in question and remuneration or rewards accompany such activites, you need to obtain Permission to Engage in Activity Other Than That Permitted under the Status of Residence Previously Granted. On the contrary, if remuneration or rewards do not accompany such activity you do not have to obtain a special permit. For example, people who have the residency status of engineer and specialist in humanities/ international services may attend a school.

In this sense, preparation without earning rewards or remuneration might be workable unless such activities prevent you from carrying out the activities that are central to your residency status. For example a person holding a student visa being unable to attend school because they are too busy programming software. It is also necessary to note that such activity should not cause damage to activities included in your status. For example, using a social network service during working hours might cause problems with respect to labor matters for a person with “engineer and specialist in humanities/ international services” status, as it might violate rules of employment.

Occasionally attending competitions and winning awards is one way to success during preparation to launch a venture, and could be submitted as evidence for a person having status as a college student when seeking a change of status to the business manager visa, though there are further elements to be considered.

Changing status from student to business manager visa is a difficult procedure, as the Immigration Office might suspect that many people want to stay in Japan by paying some amount of money. Such preparations might be useful in order to prove you can are likely to successfully continually manage a business, study and work experience might also help you to construct your networks in Japan and allow you to lay the ground work for your future goals.

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