This article series will provide useful insights into the changing investment and innovation environment, and new business opportunities in Japan.
2.4 Types of working statuses
2.4.1 Principal working statuses related to investment in Japan
Below are shown the principal statuses of residence related to investment in Japan and the activities authorized in Japan for each status
|Active in operating or managing international trade or other areas of business within a public or private organization in Japan.
|Highly Skilled Professional
(i) Activities that fall under any of the following (a) through (c) which are conducted by a person who satisfies the standards prescribed by the applicable Ordinance of the Ministry of Justice as a person with outstanding abilities and is expected to contribute to the development of academic research or economy in Japan
(a) Activities to conduct research, give guidance on research, or provide education based on a contract with a public or private organization in Japan designated by the Minister of Justice, management of business related to and in conjunction with such activities, or activities to conduct research, give guidance on research, or provide education based on a contract with other public or private organization in Japan other than the applicable organization.
(b) Activities that require knowledge or skills in the field of natural science or humanities and conducted under contracts with public or private organizations in Japan designated by the Minister of Justice, or management of business related to and in conjunction with such activities
(c) Activities to operate or manage trade and other businesses at public or private organizations in Japan designated by the Minister of Justice, or manage own businesses related to and in conjunction with such activities.
(ii) Activities listed in the following items conducted by a person who has engaged in the activities described in (i) and whose residence meets the standards prescribed by the applicable Ordinance of the Ministry of Justice as contributing to the interests of Japan:
(a) Activities to conduct research, give guidance on research, or provide education under contracts with public or private institutions in Japan
(b) Activities that require knowledge or skills in the field of natural science or humanities under contracts with public or private institutions in Japan
(c) Activities to operate or manage trade and other businesses at public or private institutions in Japan.
(d) Activities of Professor, Artist, Religious Activities, Journalist, Legal/Accounting Services, Medical Services, Education, Engineer/Specialist in Humanities/ International Services, Care Worker, Entertainer, Skilled Labor, and Specified Skilled Worker (ii) conducted in conjunction with any of the activities set forth in Highly Skilled Professional (ii) (a) to (c) (excluding activities falling under any of Highly Skilled Professional (ii)(a) to (c)).
|Engineer/Specialist in Humanities/ International Services
|Engaged in services which require skills or knowledge pertinent to physical science, engineering or other natural science fields, or in services which require knowledge pertinent to jurisprudence, economics, sociology or other human science fields, or in services which require special consideration or sensitivity based on experience with foreign culture, based on a contract with a public or private organization in Japan.
|A staff member transferred to a business office in Japan for a limited period of time from a business office established in a foreign country by a public or private organization which has its head office, branch office or other business office in Japan, to conduct work at said business office in Japan which is listed in the "Engineer/Specialist in Humanities/International Services" column of this Table.
|Engaged in legal or accounting work, which is required to be carried out by registered foreign lawyers “Gaikokuhoujimubengoshi”, or certified public accountants “Gaikokukoninkaikeishi” or those with other legal qualifications.
|Engaged in services which require industrial techniques or skills belonging to special fields based on a contract with a public or private organization in Japan.
|Specified Skilled Worker
(i) Activities to engage in services that require a considerable degree of knowledge or experience prescribed in the Ordinance of the Ministry of Justice in a specified industrial field designated by the Minister of Justice which is conducted based on a contract with a public or private organization in Japan designated by the Minister of Justice.
(ii) Activities to provide skills that require technical experience prescribed in the Ordinance of the Ministry of Justice in a specified industrial field designated by the Minister of Justice, which is conducted based on a contract with a public or private organization in Japan designated by the Minister of Justice.
2.4.2 Documentation needed when applying for a Certificate of Eligibility
The following documentation is generally needed when applying for a Certificate of Eligibility for all working statuses:
Application for Certificate of Eligibility
One full-face photograph (4 cm in height x 3 cm in width, taken within 3 months of the date of application)
Return-mail envelope (a standard size envelope with the return address written, and 404 yen postage affixed for simplified registered mail)
A copy of employment agreement
Document certifying academic qualifications (may not be necessary for some statuses of residence)
Certified copy of the company register of an organization of affiliation (organization to which the foreign applicant belongs) in Japan
Brochure of an affiliated organization in Japan
Copy of financial statements of an organization of affiliation in Japan (When a corporation, branch, or representative office to be newly established in Japan serves as the organization of affiliation, a business plan stating the cash flow forecast of such organization)
If an affiliated organization is a listed company, a copy of “Shikihou (Japan Company Handobook)”, etc.
If an affiliated organization is not a listed company, a copy of Total Figures of Withholding Tax Paid for the Previous Year (with a receipt stamp from the tax office or a copy of confirmation of electronic submission including the “notice of receipt,” or “email details,” etc., or documents to prove the approval of the request for using the online residence application system (such as an email notifying the approval of the request for use)).
If neither of the above can be submitted as the affiliated organization is newly established, the following documents can be substituted.
- If the organization is exempted from withholding at source, certificate on the foreign corporation’s exemption from withholding at source or other document stating that the organization does not require withholding at source.
- If the organization is not exempted from withholding at source, a copy of Notification on the Establishment of a Salary-Paying Office and
a) a Statement of Collected Income Tax on employment income and retirement income of the last three months (a copy of the document with receipt date stamp) or b) if the organization is subject to special provisions regarding due dates, a document stating the approval for that.
In addition to the above, submission of a certificate of job content, certificate of employment by current and past employers, foreign company's business brochure, business license, and similar documents may be required depending on the type of status of residence. Furthermore, when the organization of affiliation in Japan is a representative office of a foreign company, it is not possible to obtain the certified copy of the company register specified in (7) above. Instead, documents such as the lease agreement and layout plan and photograph of the office, and a document certifying the resolution made in the home country of opening a Japanese representative office may be required.
2.4.3 Documentation needed when applying for a visa
The following documentation is generally needed when applying for visa at a Japanese diplomatic mission abroad after a Certificate of Eligibility has been issued:
Visa application form
Full-face photograph (1-2 photos, 4.5 cm in height x 4.5 cm in width) * Some Japanese diplomatic missions require 3.5 cm in width
Certificate of Eligibility and copy thereof
2.4.4 Relation between type of operation in Japan and status of residence
A foreign company can establish a business presence in Japan in one of three ways, as described in 1.1 "Types of operation in Japan”. Typically, companies do so by establishing a representative office, branch, or subsidiary company. The status of residence is determined depending on the content of the applicant’s activities in Japan and not on the type of foreign business establishment. However, the relationship between the type of business establishment and the status of residence of the expatriate or the representative in Japan is generally as follows:
- Expatriate of a representative office:
"Intra-company Transferee" (note)
- Representative of a Japan branch office:
"Intra-company Transferee" (note)
- Representative of a subsidiary (a Japanese company):
However, if the office has other employees, the representative’s status may be "Business Manager"
The status of residence of foreigners (except persons falling under the category of "Business Manager") employed by a representative office, branch or subsidiary company will be "Intra-company Transferee" or "Engineer/Specialist in Humanities/International Services" in cases where the foreign national conducts duties related to his/her educational/professional background based on a contract with a public or private organization in Japan.
2.4.5 Status of residence for foreign IT professionals
Foreign IT professionals are generally considered to fall under the status of residence for "Engineer/Specialist in Humanities/International Services." If a professional is deemed highly skilled by the "points-based system" based on educational background, work experience, annual income, etc. and gains the status of residence for Advanced specialized/technical activities: "Highly Skilled Professional(i)(b)", the person may be eligible for preferential immigration treatment (See 2.11). If a person wants to obtain the status of residence for "Engineer/Specialist in Humanities/International Services", then the person has to have an income equal to or higher than the amount a Japanese would earn in the same job and should fall under any of the following:
Majored in subjects related to skill/knowledge in the field of natural sciences or humanities and graduated from university, or received education at a similar level or higher
Majored in subjects related to skill/knowledge in the field of natural sciences or humanities and completed a specialized course at an advanced vocational school in Japan (Only those who have been given the diploma or Advanced diploma")
Have more than 10 years of work experience (including the period spent majoring in the related subjects at university, etc.)
However, (1) to (3) above are not required if the person has one of the IT qualifications or has passed one of the
IT exams specified in announcements by the Minister of Justice.
2.4.6 Necessity of having an office
In order to obtain the status of residence for “Business manager,” it is required for the Japanese subsidiary, branch, or representative office, etc. that serves as the organization of affiliation to have an exclusive and physical office independent from other companies. With a non-physical virtual office, a shared office with a related corporation, or an open space such as a co-working space or a shared workspace, which are often used when a foreign company advances into Japan, the possibility of not obtaining the status of residence for “Business Manager” becomes higher (When it is not possible to have an independent office immediately, you can consider using the "Projects for Encouraging Foreign Entrepreneurs to Start Business" or “Program to increase foreign entrepreneurs” in national strategic special zones as stated later in 2.12).
When obtaining an office by renting, it is, as a general rule, required to clearly state in the lease agreement of such property that it is used for business purposes and that the name of the lessee to be such corporation, etc. When the lease period is short, such as using a short-term rental space on a monthly basis, it is treated as if the office is not secured.
Furthermore, when applying for a status of residence other than “Business Manager,” depending on the case, the Regional Immigration Bureau might require to submit the lease agreement of the office, and photos, etc. of the interior and exterior of the office in cases where there is a suspicion whether the office is substantial or not, such as the cases where there is a serviced office at the registered address of the head office or where the location of the head office is the same as the representative’s residential address.
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.
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