Want to Start a Business in Japan?

Want to Start a Business in Japan?

Free consultation with Sea and Forest Plan Company


Japan has one of the most mature economic markets that has still not been ventured into by many small international companies. With a stable economy and the third largest GDP in the world, it’s a country brimming with possibilities for new business owners, but where do you get started? 

Sea and Forest Plan Co. is a company dedicated to supporting international residents in Japan with any visa matters. With almost 20 years of experience, their legal affairs office also provides services for international marriage or divorce procedures, naturalization permission applications, and any legal affairs related to private international law. Not sure what job you want to work in yet, or you’re still overseas and considering whether Japan is a good option for you? Sea and Forest Planning Co can help with this too. 

Now more than ever, starting a business in Japan as an international person has become much easier due to a current lack of foreign capital regulations in Japan. Previously, one condition stated that you need at least one of the business presidents to be a Japanese resident; however, after a law change in 2015, it’s now possible to both create a company whilst living overseas and to obtain a Business Manager visa. The minimum requirements to change your visa status to a Business Manager visa is to invest over ¥5,000,000 and to set up a corporation. 

One of the largest obstacles for business owners planning on establishing themselves in Japan is the language barrier. Once a company has been formed, you must report a settlement of accounts as well as other necessary documents to the tax office in Japan. For someone who can’t read or write Japanese, this procedure can be tricky to execute alone as the tax office does not provide any English-language services. Sea and Forest Plan Co. can provide support with its one-stop service from establishing a company to obtaining a Business Manager visa. With the help of its tax-account partner, they can solve any tax procedures issues causing you a headache. 

Once you have completed this process, you can also receive business support from the company’s partners if you need any support in terms of tax matters or applications for government subsidiaries. As a new business owner in Japan, it can also be incredibly useful to have good contacts in related services, and Sea and Forest Co. are partnered with investment brokers, stockbrokers, construction business operators, and trader partners that you are welcome to get in touch with for a chat. 

The minimum requirements for obtaining a Business Manager Visa:

  1. Prepare a physical office space in Japan
  2. Establish a corporation – either a Limited Liability Company (LLC.) or Published Company (Inc.) 
  3. Acquire over ¥5,000,000 in company investments (including loans) 
  4. Apply for a Business Manager Visa – this process takes more than 2 months 

If you are deciding between starting an LLC or an Inc., here is some important information:

Tax system

Both LLCs and Inc.s have a corporation tax system and limited liability.

Processing time (average) 

LLC : 1 week      

Inc. :  3 weeks


LLC : ¥ 200,000  

Inc. :  ¥ 340,000

Title of President 

LLC : ‘Representative Partner’  

Inc. : ‘Representative Director’

Investment from Venture Capital 

A limited liability company (LLC and Inc) has no concept of listing as it does not issue shares. There are also cases of discordance between the ratio of investment and voting rights because unlike in a stock company, there is an absence of stockholder equality principles. Therefore, it’s trickier for an LLC to accept investments in comparison to a stock company. If you’re receiving a third-party allotment from Venture Capital, a stock company has an advantage over an LLC. 


LLC : Notarizing is not necessary. 

Inc. : It is essential to go to a public notary office to have the articles of incorporation drawn up and notarized. Therefore, Inc.s take more time to process than LLCs.

Necessary documents for Sea Forest Plan Co.’s services

LLC : Only the certificate of each board member’s seal registration is required.

Inc. : It is necessary to provide the stockholder certificate, certificate of seal registration, and certificate of residence for each member of the board. 

Note: If you are applying from overseas and cannot obtain a seal of registration without official residence in Japan, you must submit proof of your home address and proof of signature from your country of residence’s authorities instead. 

For any questions or concerns about visa matters, contact Sea and Forest Planning Co linked below, where you’ll find a helpful Q&A section as well as a form for a free consultation. 


Sea and Forest Planning Co., Ltd. 

Sagami Building 2F, 7-13-6 Ginza, Chuo-ku