What kind of visa is appropriate for someone setting up a business in Japan?

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In order for a foreign national to live and work in Japan, it is necessary to have a proper visa.  This requirement can make it difficult for foreign investors to start a business in Japan.  However, to solve this problem and encourage foreign investment, Japan has established the “Investor/Business Manager” visa.

The Investor/Business Manager visa is available to foreign nationals who invest in or manage a business in Japan.  However, the immigration authorities are often suspicious of this visa as some foreign residents in Japan may try to set up paper companies simply to acquire a Japanese visa.  Therefore, the foreign national should submit evidence as part of his or her application to prove that the business is legitimate.  This evidence should include proof of a rented office space, an initial investment of capital and detailed business plans.

In addition, this visa can also be used by managers who move to Japan to manage a pre-existing business.  For managers coming to Japan to run a pre-existing business, there are also other options, such as the visa for intra-company transfer, that may prove more suitable depending on the circumstances.

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