Table of contents
Here is a short guide on what is needed for you to set up a company in Japan.
First, you need an address in Japan where you can register your new company.
Some people register their own apartment as an address, while others rent a private office or contract a coworking space to obtain an address.
The choice of options for you will vary depending on whether you need to provide visas, acquire special licenses, or work with particular banks. However, a common requirement is to be able to receive mail at that address.
Article of incorporation
This is the main document of your company. It contains information about who founded the company, how much capital was invested, where the company is located, and what business it does, among other details.
Creating this document on your own can be difficult, which is why I recommend using a software called freee会社設立 (freee launch). It will automatically generate an article of incorporation for you, and you just need to fill in your data in a form.
When you set up a company and operate it later, you will need company seals.
Usually, it is a set of three seals:
- Representative Director’s Seal - used to seal documents on behalf of the director
- Bank Seal - used for bank documents
- Square Seal - generally used for everything
You can order those seals online. I used this website, but you can get them anywhere in Japan.
Certificate of Seal/Sign Verification
When your article of incorporation is ready, you will need to seal it with your personal seal.
This seal should be verified by your local city hall. They have such a service when you register a seal as your personal one and then can get a certificate proving that this seal actually belongs to you.
This certificate will be needed to prove that it is actually you who is sealing the article of incorporation and setting up a company.
In case you don’t have a seal, you can get a certificate of your signature at city hall. But Japanese prefer seals, so just make one for yourself in the same way you make seals for a company.
Personal Bank Account
You need to have a bank account that will hold your initial capital before your company is set up and able to have a corporate bank account.
When you fill in information for your article of incorporation, you will be asked about an amount of your investment. So you need to have those money on your bank account. You would need to take copies of a account book - a page showing that you have money and a page with account information (with your name).
As you could already understand, to setup a company you would need to have an initial capital. In Japan you can create a company with as little as 1 Japanese Yen of the initial capital.
However with small initial capital nobody will take your company seriously and you will have a hard time openning a corporate bank account. So I recommend to have at least 1 million JPY.
If you want to have a higher capital, but lack money on your bank account, there is a way to register other assets as a non-materail capital and increase an overall sum.
Money to pay tax
Setting up company would require paying tax.
50,000 JPY for notarization of your article of incorporation and
150,000 JPY (at least) as a tax for registering your comapany.
This amount of 150K JPY can get higher if you have a high initial capital. The rule is that tax is 0.007% of your initial capital, but not less than 150,000 JPY.