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The Act for Partial Amendment of the Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition Act (Act No.74 of 2014) was promulgated on June 18, 2014 and will take effect on April 1. The changes that will be instituted have reopened opportunities for small to medium sized companies to enter the Japan market.
Now the requirements for obtaining a visa for the purpose of starting a business (a “business manager visa”) are as follows:
1) The applicant has an office address from which to operate the business in Japan (this must be indicated in the application form)
- More than two permanent personnel who reside in Japan and are engaged in the business besides the managing or administrative person. These personnel do not include the applicant; or
- A minimum of 5 million yen in capital; or
- The circumstances are considered to be similar to (a) or (b) above.
3) If the applicant has an intention to engage in the administration of the business he/she must have more than 3 years experience in business management or administration. (If the applicant majored in business management or administration in graduate school, such a period may be included) and additionally that he/she receives a salary competitive to that of a person engaging in similar activities in the same or similar industry in Japan.
- Copy of business plan.
- In the case of starting a business and the commercial registration of the judicial entity has not yet been finalized, the Articles of Incorporation or the document proving that he/she has an intention to establish such an entity. Note that in this case a profit and loss statement etc. is not necessary.
- A document proving the amount of capital to be contributed.
- documents outlining the office such as lease contract for the office and the brochure of the company.
- A document proving the intended activities, period, position and remuneration such as the service provider contract in case where he/she is retained for the management of the company.
- In the case of management or administration, a document proving the qualifications and experience of the applicant.
Given the above requirements, you therefore need to find a place to operate and conclude the agreement. The requirement regarding the “Articles of Incorporation” does not clearly indicate that notarized Articles of Incorporation are required. It might depend on the circumstances, but at the least, it would be preferable that it be signed by all of the promoters.
You might make an application via your Embassy or an Immigration office using an agent.
If you obtain this visa, you might have at least a 4 month residence status which will allow you to apply for residence registration at your municipal office. After you receive such a certificate and registered seal, you might want to visit the bank to open a bank account (the requirements regarding this are subject to the bank’s discretion, but it is usually necessary to get a residence certificate and registered seal first).
After successfully opening a bank account, you then deposit the amount of start-up capital which is specified in the Articles of Incorporation and make a copy of the bank book for proof.
After collecting all of the required documents, you should submit them to the Legal Affairs Bureau in order to incorporate the company. After you obtain the certificate of commercial registration and registered representative seal, you can visit the bank again to open a corporate bank account and you have completed the steps for commercial registration.
If you wish to stay in Japan longer, you need to apply for renewal of your managing and administrative Visa.
Note that you should not forget other procedures such as with regards to tax etc.