FAQ : Investment in Japan

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Q1: How can I set up a company in Japan?
If you are thinking about setting up your company in Japan, your first port of call should be to contact the JETRO London investment team. We can offer you a free consultation meeting with our senior investment advisor at our offices or yours, and register you as a JETRO client. Once registered, JETRO in London and Japan will assist you in setting up by providing our services. For detailed information regarding the process of setting up your company in Japan, please access the following link to the JETRO Global homepage: https://www.jetro.go.jp/en/invest/setting_up/

Q2: What kind of support can we get?
JETRO support consists of administrative services such as advice on market entry, industry information, regulations and incentives, temporary office space, business coordination and matching, assistance with procedural requirements, locating office space and qualified staff, facilitating PR opportunities and related matters.

Q3: What are the criteria to receive JETRO support?
a) You are a company seeking support, not an individual
b) That your company in the UK has been registered with Companies House and operated for minimum one year
c) Companies outside of our priority sectors (Pharmaceutical, Tourism, Environment, any business allowing mass employment, or ICT covering the first 3, those looking to establish an R&D site, or a create an Asian regional HQ in Japan), must be looking to set up in Japan in the immediate future (within two years).
d) You have a company set up here and are looking to open up a representative office, branch or subsidiary in Japan.
If you clear the above criteria you can apply to become a JETRO client and receive support.

Q4: How much does it cost to receive JETRO support?
JETRO services are basically free of charge.

Q5: Which type of company should we set up?
Types of operation in Japan are 1) Representative office 2) Branch office 3) Subsidiary company as a joint-stock corporation (Kabushiki-Kaisha) or as a limited liability company (Godo Kaisha) 4) Limited liability partnership
We'll explain the features of each type and discuss which type suits your company. https://www.jetro.go.jp/en/invest/setting_up/laws/section1/

Q6: Can we set up an LLC or LLP?
Yes, you can set up either an LLC or LLP.
LLP is not a corporate status in Japan, which is different from the UK, while LLC is corporate.
How to set up an LLC or LLP is on our website.

Q7: What's the difference between a branch office and a subsidiary company?
Both branch and subsidiary are corporate status and are able to do business in Japan. To set up a branch is the simplest means for a foreign company to establish a base for business operations in Japan.
We'll explain the comparison between branch and subsidiary and advise you which is better for your company.

Q8: Can we reorganize a branch office into a subsidiary?
No, you cannnot. You have to close the branch office and newly set up a subsidiary.
For details please refer to the JETRO website.

Q9: Where (Which region) do you recommend to set up our office?
It depends which industry you are in. You can get regional information (47 Prefectures and major cities) in Japan such as information on industrial clusters, general business, lifestyle, etc., from the JETRO website.

Q10: Can you give me an idea of start-up costs involved with setting up?
You can get this information from the JETRO website.

Q11: How long will it take to register a company?
It depends on how smoothly you can prepare the documentation for registration.
It is normally said one month for a branch and two months for a subsidiary.

Q12: Can we get any subsidies or incentives when we set up a company?
You can get subsidies or incentives depending on what kind of business you plan to do or where you set up your company.
You can get this information from the JETRO website.

Q13: How can I get my working visa?
When you register your company you can apply for a Certificate of Eligibility.
With this certificate you can apply for a working visa at the Japanese Embassy in London or Consulate General in Edinburgh.
Details can be found on the JETRO website.

Q14: How can I open a corporate bank account in Japan?
To open a corporate bank account in Japan, you will need to have an address in Japan and several documents. The documents needed may vary slightly depending on which bank you choose to go with. On receipt of the documents, you will be asked about your purpose of opening an account and company information. For detailed information related to opening a bank account, and to see what documents you will need, please visit the website of the Japanese bank that you wish to open an account with.

Q15: How much is corporate tax in Japan
Corporations engaged in economic activities in Japan are subject to taxes in Japan on the profits generated by those economic activities.
Details of the tax can be found on the JETRO website.

Q16: What is the corporate obligation for individual tax?
A tax withholding system where companies (salary payers) collect income tax on the date of payment and pay the tax on behalf of individuals (income earners) is also introduced for specific incomes. Withholding income tax is assessed against payments of certain taxable income, whether paid to an individual or a corporation. Income subject to withholding income tax is determined in accordance with the type of income and the classification of the recipient of that income.
Details of the corporate obligation for individual tax can be found on the JETRO website.

Q17: What is the corporate obligation for social and health insurance?
A company must enter the 'labour insurance' and 'social insurance systems' when first incorporating or hiring staff by submitting labour and social insurance notification forms to the relevant authorities. The company usually pays insurance premiums by deducting the portion of the premiums payable by employees from their wages, and paying these together with the portion of the premiums payable by the company to the relevant authorities. Details of the corporate obligation for social and health insurance are on the JETRO website.

Q18: We would like to attend an exhibition in Japan. Can JETRO help us with this?
Every year JETRO organises or promotes a number of tradeshows and exhibitions in Japan which overseas companies may wish to apply for. Successful entrants could benefit from subsidised travel costs and accommodation, plus booth space at the exhibition and an interpreter. To view the latest opportunities, please follow the link to the JETRO London homepage: https://www.jetro.go.jp/uk/ Alternatively, a list of all trade fairs can be seen at the following link: https://www.great.gov.uk/uk/

FAQ : Import from Japan

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Q1: Looking for a Japanese partner or for Japanese companies?
According to your search criteria there are several English business matching sites which can help in your search for Japanese companies:

(1) e-venue
e-venue is  all-free international business matching website operated by JETRO. Why not register now for all-free e-venue services!

(3) The Japan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (JCCI)
JCCI is the central organization to which all Japanese local chambers of commerce belong to. They offer a business database for foreign companies who are seeking Japanese trade partners (JCCI members throughout Japan) and new trade opportunities.

(4) Tokyo Trade Centre
If you are looking for companies based in Tokyo, in particular small and medium-sized companies, Tokyo Metropolitan Small and Medium Enterprise Support Center can assist you in your search.

KOMPASS is a worldwide B to B (Business to Business) company search engine, which helps find suppliers and new clients based on your search criteria.
Kompass Japan (in English): http://jp.kompass.com/en

Q2: I would like to import second-hand automobiles from Japan.
Japan Used Motor Vehicle Exports Association (JUMVEA)'s website could be an option to look at. You will be able to view their member's company profile together with a list of available stock.
This organization was formed in 1997 with the approval of the Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI), presently the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI). In 2012 their members exceeded 170.
JUMVEA (Japan used Motor Vehicle Exporters Association): http://www.jumvea.or.jp/

Q3: I want to know about UK Trade Tariff.
The Authorities in the UK are as follows:
HM Revenue & Customs: HMRC 
Department for Business Innovation & Skills: BIS

(1) HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC)
HMRC Helpline
TEL: +44-2920-501-261 (Phoning from outside the UK about UK VAT)
TEL: 0845-010-9000 (Regarding Excise/Customs/VAT. This line is only used within the UK)
You can send inquiries through HMRC's website regarding VAT, Commodity Tax and other Taxes

HMRC Tariff Classification Advice Line
TEL: +44-(0)1702-366-077

(2) UK Government Website
UK Trade Tariff Classification
You can search for import and export commodity codes and for tax, duty and licenses that apply to your goods.

European Union Website
Integrated Tariff of the European Communities: TARIC, Online customs tariff database

Q4: I want to know about the Japan - EU EPA Agreement

The Japan-EU EPA agreement came into effect on the 1st February 2019. It reduces and eliminates many ofthe tariffs between Japan and the EU. For more information, visit: https://policy.trade.ec.europa.eu/eu-trade-relationships-country-and-region/countries-and-regions/japan/eu-japan-agreement_en

FAQ : Export to Japan

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Q1: We are a UK company, and are looking to export our products to Japan. Can you help?
Department for International Trade (DIT) are assisting UK companies who wish to export their products overseas, we recommend that you contact them for further information on how to export your products. Please see their webpage at the following link for contact information: https://www.great.gov.uk/uk/
Q2: I would like to find a distribution partner in Japan who can sell our products, can JETRO London introduce me to a distributor?
JETRO offers the ‘e-venue’ to companies who wish to find distribution partners abroad. By registering for free on the JETRO website, you can put forward your business proposal and product, which can then be translated into Japanese. Your business information will then be delivered to people around the world who are accessing the e-venue. For further information, and to register, please access the following link: 

Q3: I would like to understand Japanese Standards and Regulations, Consumption Tax, Customs, Tariff and Duty etc.?
Goods imported into Japan are subject to Customs duty and consumption tax. In addition to consumption tax, certain other internal taxes (liquor tax, tobacco tax, etc.) are also liable for duty. Depending on the kinds of goods or products imported there are also Standards and Regulations which need to be understood when you import these goods.

Please refer to the following general information:

(1) Standards and Regulations
This general information is provided by JETRO- regarding Standards and Regulations and includes Major Related Laws & Regulations together with Handbooks for Import Regulations.

(2) Japanese Consumption Tax(消費税)
Consumption tax is imposed in general at the rate of 5% on all goods imported into or manufactured in Japan.
The amount of consumption tax payable on imported goods is calculated on the basis of the Customs value of the goods plus Customs duty payable and, where applicable, other excise taxes payable.

(3) Japanese Customs(税関)

An Outline of Tariff and Duty Rates System for Goods imported into Japan are subject to Customs duty and consumption tax.In addition to consumption tax, certain other internal taxes are also applicable to dutiable imported goods.

(4)Japan Tariff Association(日本関税協会)

Q4: Do JETRO organise business missions for European companies to develop their business in Japan?
Unfortunately, JETRO do not organise regular business missions to Japan, however,the European Union do organise and fund business missions called "The EU Gateway Programme" in high technology and design sectors for European companies to develop their business in Japan and Korea.
For further details, please access the following link: https://www.eu-gateway.eu/

FAQ : Others

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Q1: We would like to find the information of Japanese companies in UK. Do you have a list?
Unfortunately, JETRO does not provide the list of Japanese companies in UK.
One relevant source is the JCCI member list (Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry in the UK)
Link: https://www.jcci.org.uk/EN/Home.aspx

Q2: How can I search the business opportunities in Japan?
We offer various services to help foreign companies search for business opportunities in Japan.

- Business Matching Database (e-venue)
e-venue is  all-free international business matching website operated by JETRO.
Through e-venue, companies can reach out to potential business partners in Japan and internationally by registering your company information and posting your own proposals.
Link: https://e-venue.jetro.go.jp/bizportal/s/?language=en_US

- Online Trade fair Database (J-messe)
An extensive trade fair database that offers comprehensive information on fairs and exhibitions held in Japan and globally. Users can search by industry, location and date. Virtual online trade fairs devoted to a range of business categories are also regularly featured.
Link: https://www.jetro.go.jp/en/database/j-messe/

- Japanese Government Procurement
Online database of Japanese government procurement notices and invitations published in the National Printing Bureau’s “Official Gazette.” Users can search by publication date, product/service category as well as location.
Link: https://www.jetro.go.jp/en/database/procurement/

Q3: How can I obtain the Latest Japanese market information?
- Attractive Sectors
We introduce Japan's attractive sectors. Learn about each sector's general overview and trends, government initiatives, and alluring markets for foreign companies. : ICT, Life Science, Environment and Energy, Manufacturing, Tourism.
Link: https://www.jetro.go.jp/en/invest/attractive_sectors/

- Current Japanese Economy and Trade Statistics
Useful data on the Japanese economy, including balance of payments and international trade, plus an annual report on Japanese trade.
Link: https://www.jetro.go.jp/en/reports/statistics/

- JETRO White Paper
JETRO white paper on trends and movements in international trade and investment, provides valuable insight into the trade and invest environment in Japan and other countries.
Link: https://www.jetro.go.jp/en/reports/white_paper/

- Survey Reports
A wide variety of reports are available on issues relating to global trade including foreign direct investment and international economic agreements.
Link: https://www.jetro.go.jp/en/reports/survey/

Q4: We are a Japanese company, and are looking to start our business in the UK.
We offer various services for Japanese companies. The following information is provided in Japanese only.

- JFile:
Basic statistics, trade information and business news by country.
https://www.jetro.go.jp/world/europe/ (EU)
https://www.jetro.go.jp/world/europe/uk/ (UK)

- Data Comparison by Country and Items
Comparative data on trade and investment regulations and a wide variety of economic indicators by country.

- Data Comparison on Investment Cost by Country-
Comparative data on investment costs such as office rental prices and labour costs across the world.

- Briefing Service
Specialists in over seventy JETRO overseas offices are available for face-to-face briefings regarding the domestic social and economic situation.

- European Trends
Useful data on trends in European industrial and corporate sectors, and changes in regulation.

- Mailing service
Newsletter for JETRO London’s events and activities.

Q5:I would like to contact a JETRO office in my country.
JETRO have more than 70 offices all over the world, please find your nearest JETRO office on our website.