When incorporating a company in Japan or registering a Japan branch of a non-domestic company, you will need to consult with various different types of specialists. This is because the Japanese legal profession is divided into several types of specialists, each with their unique field of specialization. When starting a business, there are four such specialists that will likely need to be consulted: a shihoshoshi, gyoseishoshi, zeirishi and shakai hoken roumushi (“sharoshi”). Broadly speaking, the specific areas of specialization of each are as follows:
A shihoshoshi is a legal professional that primarily deals with corporate registration, real estate registration and some small claim cases. In Japan, corporate registration includes not only incorporation and branch registration, but also changes to company name, head office location, registered company officers, and others. Furthermore, due to their specialized training in, among other things, the Companies Act, the shihoshoshi is able to provide consulting services related to general corporate legal matters.
If you intend to engage in certain types of businesses which require a license to operate (such as a restaurant), you will need to acquire the appropriate government permit. The gyoseishoshi is the legal services professional that specializes in the permit field. A gyoseishoshi also can assist with applications for visas (Certificates of Eligibility).
The zeirishi is a tax specialist and may be consulted for overall tax advice and planning regarding incorporation. One of the first things you will need to do after incorporating a new company is to submit a series of notifications to the national and local tax authorities. You will likely need the services of a zeirishi to assist with this procedure. In addition, the zeirishi can assist with bookkeeping and will be needed to prepare annual financial statements and for filing your corporate income tax returns.
A sharoshi is an expert in labour and social insurance issues. After your business has been set up, a sharoshi can assist with setting up social insurance and national pension plans for your employees.
If you are thinking about incorporation
When setting up a company, you will most likely begin by working with a shihoshoshi. The shihoshoshi will guide you through the rather complex Japanese incorporation process and submit the necessary registration application to the authorities. As mentioned above, certain types of businesses require a permit to commence operations and some of the permit requirements/information may need to be included into the incorporation documents. In addition, if visas are also required after the company is incorporated, to ensure that the incorporated company satisfies the conditions of the permit or visa, working with both a shihoshoshi and gyoseishoshi is recommended. Consulting with a zeirishi before and during the incorporation process may also be needed.
Shinonome Group is a professional firm of shihoshoshis and gyoseishoshis with both the resources and experience to deal with an array of company registration matters. Shinonome also has many trusted zeirishi and sharoshi alliance partners who we can introduce our clients to.
Please contact us for more details.