This article series will provide useful insights into the changing investment and innovation environment, and new business opportunities in Japan.
2.12 Promoting acceptance of foreign entrepreneurs
2.12.1Projects for Encouraging Foreign Entrepreneurs to Start Business (Startup Visa)
Some municipalities have developed Plans for Managing and Supporting Business Startup Activities by Foreign Entrepreneurs and approved by the Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry, and have introduced " Projects for Encouraging Foreign Entrepreneurs to Start Business (Startup Visa),” aimed at increasing the acceptance of foreign entrepreneurs and supporting startups.
When a foreign national starts a business in Japan, he or she usually needs to acquire the status of residence of "Business Manager." Under the current system, securing a place of business and investing at least JPY 5 million or employing two or more full-time employees is required to acquire the residence status.
In the case of a Startup Visa, a foreign entrepreneur who wishes to start a business submits a "business preparation activity plan" to the following local government. The local government judges the applicant’s prospects for the applicant to meet the visa requirements and issues a certificate of confirmation to the foreign entrepreneur. The Foreign entrepreneurs submit a certificate of confirmation issued by the local government and other necessary documents to the Regional Immigration Bureau (or branch office thereof). If the Regional Immigration Bureau (or branch office thereof) determines the foreign entrepreneur to satisfy the requirements as a result of the examination, he or she can obtain the status of residence of "Designated Activities" for a maximum of one year (required to be renewed after six months), and cane prepare for starting business.
After landing, foreign entrepreneurs can fulfill the requirements for the status of residence of “Business Manager” during their period of stay, change the status and engage in business in Japan.
For information on authorized local governments, please refer to the following website.
2.12.2 Promoting to increase foreign entrepreneurs in the National Strategic Special Zones
Some municipalities have been promoting expatriate entrepreneurship by taking advantage of the special provisions of the Immigration Control Act for the National Strategic Special Zones.
If foreign nationals wish to start a business in Japan, they have to obtain a status of residence for a "Business Manager". For the acquisition of this status of residence, according to current rules, they are required to invest at least 5 million yen or employ at least 2 full-time staff members as well as to open a business place for the business. However, in promoting expatriate entrepreneurship, foreign nationals intending to start a business in following autonomous bodies listed below may be given the status of residence for a "Business Manager" for 6 months without meeting the above-mentioned requirements for the status, provided that they submit the required documents including their business plan to the such autonomous bodies and that the autonomous bodies approve such business plan. This will allow the foreign entrepreneurs to make preparations for the establishment of their business, including satisfying the above-mentioned requirements, while staying in Japan.
For more information about the Program to increase foreign entrepreneurs, visit the link below:
Section2: Contents & Reference
Section2. Documents businesses are required to submit to authorities
Materials listed as ‘Reference’ contain samples of documents regarding registration, visa, taxation, personnel and labor matters that are necessary when a foreign company establishes a corporation or other entity in Japan. These documents are not published by competent authorities and therefore are not official. For those who are going through the official procedures, please obtain the latest official documents from the competent authorities and related bodies or consult a person who specializes in advising on such information and procedures.
The information contained in this documents should be used at the reader’s independent discretion. While JETRO makes every effort to ensure the accuracy of the information it provides, no responsibility is accepted by JETRO for any loss or damage incurred as a result of actions based on the information provided in these documents or provided by the external links listed on these pages.
Laws and Regulations on Setting Up Business in Japan Pamphlet
The pamphlet "Laws & Regulations" is available in PDF, and outlines basic information about laws, regulations and procedures related to setting up a business in Japan. It is available in 8 languages (Japanese, English, German, French, Chinese (Simplified), Chinese (Traditional), Korean and Vietnamese).
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