Can a foreign national (or company) set up a company in Japan alone? Or is it required to have a Japanese partner?
Answer: Yes, a foreign individual or company can set up a company in Japan without having a Japanese partner. However it is required to appoint a Representative Director who is a resident in Japan (of any nationality). It is also necessary to secure an official office address in Japan.
How long do I have to leave the capital money untouched? Am I allowed to use the capital?
Answer: The capital is not the money that needs to be blocked forever. You can start using it for business expenses once the company is registered. It is also possible to have the money refund by the company if you spent your own money on business expenses while waiting for the company to be registered.
What is the minimum amount of capital required?
Answer: There is no minimum requirement, so it is technically possible to set up a company with 1 yen capital. However it is necessary to invest 5 million yen into the capital if you wish to apply for an "Investor/Business Manager" visa. Also even if you don't apply for the Business Manager visa, it's highly recommended to put at least 1 million yen into the company's capital, otherwise you will have a very hard time opening a corporate bank account, as most banks refuse to open a corporate bank account is the capital is too low.
How long does it take to register one's personal seal (inkan/hanko)? How should I go about it?
Answer: You simply need to bring your Alien Registration Card and your own personal seal (inkan/hanko) to register it at the city hall where your resident address belongs to. The registration is done on the spot in a few minutes and it is also possible to get the seal certificate at the same time.
It is also possible to register your seal and get the certificate on the same time as registering yourself as a resident. By the way, the seal to be registered needs to have your family name or first name carved either in alphabet or in katakana. It is not possible to register a seal that is irrelevant to your own name or using Chinese characters if they don't appear in your passport.
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