Can I set up a company in Japan from overseas?

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While it is possible to set up a Japanese company from abroad, some of the requirements to establish a company become more difficult if the founder is not present in Japan.  Specifically, it can be quite difficult for the company founder to submit the required certificate of registration for their personal seal or find a company representative who is a resident of Japan.

Therefore, a person living overseas who wants to establish a Japanese company basically has two options. First, the foreign national can partner with someone living in Japan, either a Japanese citizen or another foreign national with a Japanese address, and apply to establish the company together.  Partnering with a local resident allows the overseas foreign national to get around the requirement to have a residence in Japan.  It can also make filing forms and receiving mail much easier.

Alternatively, the foreign national could come to Japan on some other visa, such as a student visa or work-related visa, and then apply to establish a company.  This method is trickier and it is highly recommended to discuss this possibility with an attorney before proceeding.

If you have any questions about starting a business in Japan, please contact our office for a legal consultation.