- Setting up business in Japan
- Different types of company in Japan
- Sole proprietor (kojin jigyo) in Japan
- Different types of operation for a foreign company
- Representative office
- Branch office (shiten)
- Subsidiary (company established under the Japanese Law)
- Registering a branch office in Japan
- Procedures and costs: how to set up a company in Japan
- Required documents and the details to decide in the Articles of Incorporation
- Business Consulting Services in Japan
- Accounting, Social Security & Trademark Consulting
- Market Entry & Business Consulting
- Test Marketing & Channel Development Consulting
- Executive Search & Recruitment Consulting
- Real Estate Services & Consulting
- Visa and Immigration Procedure in Japan
- Working visa, spouse visa, status of residence, Premanent Residence, Nikkei...
Setting up an office / company in Japan
Incorporation in Japan
If you would like to set up a company in Japan, you will now need to choose the most suitable structure between Kabushiki Kaisha (KK) or Godo Kaisha (GK).
Whichever structure you choose, it is required to have:
- An office address where the company can be registered. Depending on your visa types, it might also be required to have a physical dedicated office space.
- A bank account in Japan where the capital funds can be deposited
If you don’t have a bank account in Japan, you will either need to find a business partner who has a bank account in Japan and is willing to receive the capital in his/her personal bank account in Japan, or use our Market Entry Facilitation Service.
Since the law changed in April 2016, it is no longer required to nominate a Representative Director who is resident in Japan. It therefore became technically possible to register a company without having anyone who lives in Japan (provided that you can secure a bank account for capital deposit).
However, it is still recommended to nominate a resident Representative Director at least initially, as many Japanese banks refuse to open a corporate bank account when the Representative Director is not resident (because of the law against terrorism funding and money laundering), unless you are going to apply for the Investor / Business Manager visa to become resident afterwards.
|Kabushiki Kaisha (KK)||Godo Kaisha (GK)|
|Structure||Limited liability company by share||Used by small and medium sized companies and functions more like a partnership|
|Credibility||Widely known, the most credible form of company in Japan||Newly introduced in 2006 to replace Yugen Kaisha. Still not very well known|
|Setting up costs||Around 400,000 yen*||Around 250,000 yen*|
|Governance||Investors / owners (shareholders) and managers of the company (Directors) are separated (a shareholder can become a director at the same time)||Owned and managed by partners. Necessary to invest (regardless of the amount) in order to manage the company.|
|Minimum number of people required||At least one shareholder and one Representative Director (can be the same person)||At least one partner|
|Publication of financial statements||Necessary||Not necessary|
|Directors term of office||1 to 10 years with possibility of re-election (which needs to be registered)||No fixed term|
|Profit sharing||Tied to the investment rate (number of shares held)||Possible to decide freely without being bound to the investment rates|
|Advantages||Easily recognized or trusted when working with big Japanese companies. Possible to appoint directors who don't hold shares.||Useful when you have partners who can contribute by providing their knowledge, skills or network without making large financial contribution.|
|Disadvantages||More costly when setting up||Less credible|
*including our fees
It is possible to change from GK to KK, or from KK to GK, after the company is registered. The costs of the transformation is about the same as the difference in the setting up costs between KK and GK (around 100 000 yen).
Which should I choose, KK or GK?
- If you have sufficient funds for and will work regularly with Japanese companies: KK
- If you budget is limited and the main clients/customers will most likely be individuals or foreign companies: GK
- If you intend to have other investors or to transfer/sell shares in the future: KK
- If you wish to devide the profit (dividends) with different percentage than the actual investment rate (for having partner(s) who will provide workforce, skills or know-how rather than contributing financially): GK
- If you are the sole investor/manager of the company and wish to set up a company in the easiest and fastest way: GK
Now what are the different steps for setting up a company in Japan ?
Let's see next : Procedures and costs: how to establish a company in Japan
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