Incorporating a business in Japan

March 30th, 2011By Category: Starting a Business

People are responding to the challenges of post-earthquake Japan in a number of rich and varied ways. While some decided to leave the country, others are seeing their creativity unleashed and are getting involved, either through charity work, seeking more fulfilling jobs or in some cases, starting their own business in order to pursue their passions.

One person who incorporated his own company in Japan is Maurizio Valsesia. With years of experience in the translation industry in Europe and the United States, and close to a decade of living in Japan, Maurizio had always envisioned operating his own business in Tokyo. But where to start?

Perhaps the easiest way is to contact a firm that specializes in incorporation, business set-up and other related matters. Not being familiar with Japanese incorporation procedures and starting out with just modest assets, we asked Maurizio five quick questions about his experiences incorporating his business in Japan.

Q. First, how is business?

Business is going well despite the world recession because my company, Language Consulting, has a relatively “light” business structure and is easy to manage.

Q. As a non-Japanese with many years in Japan, what do you think are the major hurdles faced by someone such as yourself in incorporating a business?

Without a doubt, it is to overcome the number of documents required to incorporate a business in Japan. Not to mention the fact that everything must be in Japanese and obviously in compliance with Japanese laws. I did some research myself to gain some insight, but it was nowhere enough to understand the actual incorporation procedures.

Q. How about day-to-day business?

There are certainly challenges but providing you have some local knowledge, are open-minded enough to adapt and learn from mistakes and have people you can communicate questions to, then doing business in Japan is not as hard as many often make it out. In addition, there are many gaps in the Japanese market that local companies can not necessarily fill, but for a foreigner, offer lots of opportunity.

Q. You worked with a firm called Shinonome Group. How did that benefit you in incorporating your business?

The consultants at Shinonome guided me through the process smoothly, preparing and submitting everything needed to incorporate my company as well as providing me with other support services. Most importantly, they explained everything to me in English which made it much easier to understand the full process and what exactly I was signing. They had my business up and running within three weeks.

Q: You were able to get started relatively cheaply. How did you do this?

It helps that now there is really no minimum initial capital requirement to incorporate a company (one yen or more). Registering my home address as the company address also helped keep my costs to a minimum. Shinonome’s consultant fees were reasonable and considering that full English support is provided including translations of the incorporation documents, that’s even better.

If you are considering going into business for yourself and are looking for assistance with incorporating, Shinonome Group is the firm that Maurizio contacted. In addition to full incorporation services, they also provide visa acquisition services, can help locate tax advisors and offer other business legal services.

Contact them here.

Photo credit: Morio / Wikimedia


Author of this article

Shinonome Group

Shinonome Group provides counsel on a range of matters including business and commercial, immigration and visa, real estate, and estate planning and administration issues in Japan. Our goal is to achieve workable solutions quickly, accurately and professionally. We possess both the business knowledge and the legal expertise required to successfully handle a wide spectrum of issues.

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