Supports for Foreign Companies

Business and Lifestyle Information

Business-related Information

How do I find specialists to help me set up my business in Japan?

Give BDC TOKYO details of your company’s operations and requirements, and we will use our network to arrange introductions to suitable specialists. These include lawyers, administrative scriveners, public accountants, and consultants.

If you wish to handle this by yourself, the following websites let you search for specialists by type and location.

Whenever you need our assistance, feel free to contact us.

How do I find business partners in Japan?

BDC TOKYO provides services to help you develop sales channels and business partners here in Japan. We can help you build a business network by facilitating encounters with potential business partners, either through individual business matching or through events.
To obtain detailed information about our services, contact BDC TOKYO

What taxes will I have to pay when living and working in Japan?

Income tax will be deducted from your salary under the withholding system, and there is also a residence tax. Japan currently applies a consumption tax of 8% (in 2017) to purchases of goods and services.

What kinds of tax incentive are available?

Among Tax incentives, Income Tax Deduction is provided under the Act for Promotion of Japan as an Asian Business Center, and investment tax credit and Special Depreciation under the Comprehensive Special Zones Act. Note that each of these systems has different requirements your company must satisfy.
More detailed information is available at Tokyo’s Special Zone for Asian Headquarters website.

Who can receive the services of the Financial One-Stop Support Service, and what services are provided?

[Target]
Foreign financial companies (asset management and FinTech businesses) and others that are thinking of establishing business in Tokyo
[Services]
The financial desk consultant who is stationed at the Business Development Center TOKYO (Marunouchi) answers various questions concerning company establishment, registration as a financial business, and other matters related to establishing a business, all at one stop, and provides support in preparing the necessary paperwork. Consultations can also be conducted in English.
Click here for details

What are the contents of the subsidy program available when establishing a new business in Tokyo?

The Overseas Financial Corporation Business Establishment Subsidy Program is available from the Tokyo Metropolitan Government. This subsidy program grants a subsidy to overseas financial companies (asset management and FinTech businesses) that have established an office in Tokyo to cover a part of the costs incurred in establishing new business operations in Tokyo, i.e., personnel recruitment costs and expenses including fees for consultation with experts (e.g., lawyers and administrative scriveners).
Click here for details.

How much does it cost to commission an agent to manage accounting and financial procedures?

For a small office with a single employee, payroll and financial accounting will cost about ¥100,000 per month for a representative office, and about ¥200,000 per month for a branch office or a corporation. (These costs will vary depending on the agent and the size of your company)

What is the best way to manage accounting and financial procedures?

Accounting procedures include financial accounting, payroll accounting, income and expenditure management, payment, and settlement of accounts. Companies at the early stages of setting up a business generally commission an agent to take care of these procedures for them.

Is it necessary to have a seal in Japan?

In Japan, it is common practice to verify your identity with a name and seal instead of a signature. A registered corporate seal is required to register a company. In addition, the CEO and other corporate officers are required to have their own registered personal seals.

How much does registration cost?

The cost of registration is over ¥250,000 for incorporation and over 90,000 yen for a branch office. If you outsource the procedure, you will need to add an agent’s fee of between 200,000 yen and ¥300,000 on top of this cost.
More detailed information can be obtained from JETRO

Will I have to register my company?

Registration is necessary for branch offices, subsidiary companies, and limited liability partnerships. Registration is needed to open a bank account, so we recommend that you complete the registration process first. This will make subsequent procedures smoother and faster.
More detailed information can be obtained from JETRO

What types of operation are permissible for a foreign company in Japan?

Foreign companies generally establish a business presence in one of four types: representative office, branch office, subsidiary company, or limited liability partnership (LLP). BDC TOKYO can provide advice on which is most appropriate for your company’s size, business, and future direction. Contact us for a consultation.
More detailed information can be obtained from JETRO

Tell me the proper dress code for business in Japan.

In Japan, during June through September, due to an electricity conservation campaign, indoor temperatures are set relatively high, so an increasing number of companies do not require employees to wear a tie and a jacket. However, attending a business meeting with customers requires a jacket. We highly recommend that you bring a suit with you when you come to Japan. Japanese business persons never expose their arms and bare feet. For important meetings, wearing a suit and a tie is obligatory. For women, wearing a business suit is advisable. At some Japanese restaurants, you may be asked to take off your shoes.

What items are needed for business in Japan?

Many visiting business persons run out of business cards. At the first meeting in Japan, we exchange business cards. Moreover, when sitting in a meeting in the presence of a lot of people, you will need to exchange business cards with everybody. When coming to Japan, be sure you have enough business cards to avoid running out. It is also essential to bring printed documents of a professional standard that provide good descriptions of your company’s products and services.

What are the business manners you need to know in advance?

  • Punctuality is the soul of business in Japan. Always arrive at the appointed location five to ten minutes early. If you expect to run late, make sure you contact the other party before the designated time.
  • In Japan, when you call a person, add “san” after the last name. You may use “san” with both men and women who are both senior or junior. First names are never used in business.
  • When sitting in a meeting room, visitors are seated far from the door. If you are not sure, ask the person where you should be seated.
  • In Japan, cold calls are not an effective way to do business. To make an appointment, an introduction by a person who has a long-standing relationship with the firm will help you receive a quick response.

Tell me about what to expect and the lead time for entering the Japanese market.

The Japanese market demands high-quality products. And, it may take longer for a foreign company to stabilize its business after entering the market. If you disregard this longer lead time, your business might not succeed. Most successful foreign companies spend many years on detailed market research, and on fine-tuning their products to the specific needs of customers in Japan. Although it takes longer to penetrate the market, once a position is established, there are huge opportunities.

Is it necessary to have a business partner in Japan?

In Japan, it is vital to have a business partner who can speak Japanese. If you have a reliable partner and a consultant who has knowledge of the Japanese market, you are able to shorten the research time.
* Business Development Center Tokyo (BDC) supports business expansion by introducing business partners according to each company’s needs. For details, contact BDC Tokyo .

Tell me about office rentals, as well as things to know about real estate.

Among foreign business persons, some of the main concerns about setting up a business and locating an office in Tokyo are expensive office rent, security deposit, and need to find a guarantor. If you are a new entrant to the Japanese market and do not have anyone to rely on, you may have difficulty finding a Japanese guarantor to cosign a lease contract.

[PROCEDURE FOR MOVING INTO AN OFFICE]

First, collect information on the property and visit the office. If you find an office you like, submit an application along with the necessary documents. Based on the information you present, a background check will be conducted by the building owner. If the contract conditions are agreeable to both the tenant and the owner, you may close the contract after all important matters regarding the office building have been discussed and cosigned by both parties. When closing a contract, the tenant submits Seal Registration Certificate, Certificate Copy of Register of the company, etc. There are circumstances when tenants need to have a cosigner/guarantor. Then, remodeling is done and the office is ready to be furnished. After moving in, you will need to notify and submit the registration of transfer to the local government.

When a foreign company wishes to lease office space, there are various ways to find an office: direct introduction by a real estate company, commissioning an agent in the home country, or requesting brokers to provide property information.

[PRECAUTIONS WHEN RENTING AN OFFICE]
When a foreign firm wants to rent an office, in most of the cases, you will need to have a Japanese guarantor. However, depending on the size of your rental office, you may not be required to have one. Another option is to use a Rental Guarantee Company service. Recently, real estate companies have been offering offices with smaller security deposits. So, collecting information on office spaces will help you increase your chances of finding the right office at a lower cost.
[OTHER RELATED FEES BESIDES THE MONTHLY RENTAL FEE]
  • SECURITY DEPOSIT: Depending on the grade of the building, you are required to pay in advance a security deposit, which is equivalent to twelve months rent.
  • COMMON SERVICE FEE: The fee includes utility costs, water expenses, and cleaning expenses.
  • KEY MONEY: Key money is a unique Japanese system under which a fee is paid to the landlord to express appreciation for renting you the office. In some cases, you may be required to pay key money

* For more detailed information on market prices of office property, and whether your office is eligible to apply for an investment and management visa, etc., contact BDC Tokyo

Should I learn Japanese?

Although you may do business in English, not many people in Japan can speak English. Learning Japanese will enable you to communicate with a lot of people and allow you to be more successful. Besides, by having a certain command of Japanese, as well as obtaining a deep knowledge on Japanese business customs, you will be able to establish good relationships with your customers.

Lifestyle Information

Tell me about Wi-Fi and Internet connections in Japan.

WI-FI INTERNET
In Japan, there are not many free Wi-Fi spots. However, you may be able to find an Internet connection at some cafes, public facilities, and hotel lobbies. During your stay in Japan, if you are constantly in need of an Internet connection, a Wi-Fi router rental service is a good option. You can apply for the service before arriving in Japan and pick up a mobile router at a hotel. The rental service is available for periods from one day. Regarding Internet connection, because we can use high-speed internet connections at relatively low cost in Japan, it is suitable for exchanging large volumes of data.
CELL PHONE
There are several ways to use a cell phone in Japan. The first one is a rental service. You can apply online and make a payment in advance to pick up a rental cell phone at a designated place. Another option is a SIM card. If you have a SIM-lock free cell phone, you can purchase a new SIM card at an airport and insert it into your cell phone to join the Japanese cell phone network. Internet access services are also available at a fixed monthly rate. If you are staying medium to long term, we advise you to make a contract with one of the cell phone network providers in Japan. Some models of smart phone, available for purchase, function as a router and let you access the Internet from your PC devices.

For further information, contact BDC Tokyo.

Tell me about means of transportation and their characteristics in Japan.

[RAIL]
Business persons in Tokyo mainly use subways, rail, and taxis depending on the destination. Traffic sometimes gets heavy, so using the subway might be faster. If you know the rail system, you can easily travel to major areas of Japan. Pre-paid cards called Pasmo or Suica are available for public transportation. These cards can be acquired by making a deposit of 500 yen. You can top up a card at station ticket machines or use a smart phone with a wallet function (need to download a specific application). When passing through the entrance gate, you hold the card over the card reader of the ticket gate. The fare is calculated automatically and deducted from the card. You may use the card with certain taxis as well.
[TAXIS]
To catch a taxi on the street, you raise your hand and signal. At stations, taxis pull over in front of the taxi stand. Taxi fares start at 710 yen for the first 2 km, and then 90 yen for every 288 meters (or 105 seconds). A night fare is applied between 22:00 to 5:00. The night fare is 20% higher than the standard fare. When you take a taxi, do not try to open the back door because taxis are equipped with automatic doors. You usually pay the fare in cash, but more and more taxis accept credit cards and Suica or Pasmo cards. If you are out of cash, be sure to look at the taxi’s window stickers, which indicate what credit card is accepted. Most taxi drivers cannot speak English, so it would be convenient to bring a map or a written address of your destination. A receipt will be issued if you ask the driver.

General Information

Tell me about the temperature and climate throughout the year in Tokyo.

In Japan has distinctive seasons. Because temperature and weather change constantly, we advise you to be prepared for the respective season.

  • JANUARY & FEBRUARY:Temperature is low, precipitation is low, and the weather is mostly dry and sunny. Occasional rain or snow. You will need a coat and gloves.
  • MARCH:The weather changes periodically. Occasional rain or snow. Towards the end of March, the cherry trees start to bloom. You will need a coat and gloves.
  • APRIL:Similar to March. The weather changes periodically. You will need a sweater, but the temperature is rising. At the beginning of April, you can see cherry blossoms.
  • MAY:Warm weather, but it is recommended to wear long sleeved clothing and a light sweater. A beautiful season with new leaves.
  • JUNE:Short or long sleeved clothing. When the rainy season starts, there are long humid periods with cloud and rain.
  • JULY:At the beginning of the month, due to the rainy season, it is rainy and cloudy. However, because of the humidity and higher temperatures, there will be more muggy days. In late July, the rainy season comes to an end and the temperature rises to over 30 degrees Celsius. This is the start of the hot and humid summer.
  • AUGUST:Continuous hot, sunny days with maximum temperatures of about 34 degrees Celsius. Occasional thunderstorms. Night temperature remains over 25 degrees Celsius. Having a handkerchief or a towel is convenient to wipe off sweat.
  • SEPTEMBER:Occasional thunderstorms. Until the middle of September, there are hot, sunny days with temperatures of about 34 degrees Celsius. In late September, cool weather finally arrives.