Whatever kind of objective people have, the number of foreigners who want to start up business in Japan tends to increase.

In 2015, for those who start a business in Japan, visa status, “Business Management” was newly established.
In this article, I talk about various conditions of this visa status that you have to satisfy.

What you can do with “Business Management” visa

“Business Management” visa is called “Keiei Knari visa” (経営管理ビザ) in Japanese. This is a visa status that allows a foreigner to start up business in Japan or allows a company to newly introduce an executive director from overseas.

In 2015, to promote foreigners who want to start up business in Japan, the Japanese government reformed the permission range of “Business and Investment” visa and changed its name to “Business Management” visa.

The conditions of “Business Management” were eased in some respects compared to “Business Investment” visa.

You can come to Japan with tourist visa and prepare for “Business Management” visa application for 90 days

Concretely, foreigners can apply for “Business Management” visa during a short-time stay. In short, you can visit Japan with a tourist visa or no visa (depending on the country), you can prepare for “Business Management” visa application for 3 months. You can think this period of stay as a grace period until you apply for “Business Management” visa to a regional immigration office.

First 4 months that you are allowed to stay is the period for setting up your business

The period of stay that you are granted for the first time is 4 months. The immigration bureau recognizes this period as the preparation period you set up your business. So you have to organize your business and establish your company during this period until you renew your “Business Management” visa. Of course, documents and certificates you need to prepare will increase when you renew visa status.

Rent an office, employ people, register your company at a regional legal affairs office, buy office things, etc…

After complete corporate registration at a regional legal affairs office, you need to go through the procedure to renew your visa status, “Business Management” to be granted permission to stay for 1 year to run a company at full scale.

Knowing your current visa situation

If visa status, “Business Management” is the very first visa status for you to acquire, finding a Japanese partner is a very important key poing

At the time you apply for a “Business Management” visa, you need to principally have an address which you register at a municipal office. (Here is an article how you can apply for resident registration).

However, if visa status, “Business Management” is the first visa for you to acquire, you can’t apply for resident registration because “residence card (foreigners ID)” is not issued from short-stay visa (tourist visa). If you don’t have a residence card, you can’t rent an apartment and you can’t submit a move-in notification to a municipality where you decide to live. So, you can’t have an address in Japan with a short-stay visa after all. The column of address in an application form will be blank.

Thus, you need to find a Japanese partner or a foreigner who live in Japan permanently because you can fill your partner’s address in the column of the address of an application form.

You can submit it with this address column blank to a regional immigration office but you have to complete the form as much as possible.

Likewise, when you submit a constitutional document of your company, you can’t fill in the column of an office address because you can’t rent an office at this moment. For your solution, you just write the address of a future office that you’re going to rent after you can acquire a “Business Management” visa or you write the address of an office rented in the name of your Japanese partner in the column of “company address”.

To take every precaution for one chance, you should satisfy every single requirement from the immigration bureau of Japan as much as possible.

If you already stay in Japan with another visa status, you complete corporate registration first

In this case, you need to complete corporate registration at the regional legal affairs office within the valid period of the visa status first. After, you go through the procedure of renewing from your current visa status to “Business Management” visa.

You need to renew the first “Business Management” visa after you complete corporate registration

As soon as completing corporate registration at a regional legal affairs office, you need to apply for visa renewal for the next 1 year to run your business at full scale. There are roughly 3 patters of “Business Management” visa renewal.

  • If you have a 4-month “Business Manager” visa, you set up your business during this period and go through the same visa renewal for the next 1 year.
  • If you have already another visa status, you set up your business during the remaining period of the visa status and go through visa renewal for “Business Manager” for the next 1 year
  • If you correspond to “Highly Skilled Professionals of Business Manager” (“Koudo Senmonshoku Daiichigo Keiei Knari”: 高度専門職第1号経営管理), you go through visa renewal for “Highly Skilled Professionals of Business Manager”. Immigration Office grants “5 years” of a period of stay to every foreign national under “HSP” visa status.

Conditions of “Business Management”

Secure a place to do your business

You are required to secure a place (office, head office) to do your first business in Japan. Monthly co-working space and easy disposable food stand cannot be accepted as a place to do your business in Japan.

Principally, immigration officers will inspect your office and make sure if your office is acceptable.

If you use one room space of your resident house as an office, the room space shall satisfy a certain standard defined by the immigration bureau. If the room space doesn’t satisfy the standard, the room space will not be accepted as an office. For example, if your resident house is a rental property and lease contract doesn’t allow you to use a vacant room space as an office, using a room space as an office is not acceptable.

Business content and working history

An immigration officer inspects that business plan content that you are going to do from now and business content that has been already operated is capable of running for a long time in Japan based on a clear business plan carefully calculated from profit and loss statement. Also, an immigration officer weighs importance on your working history.

There is a case that if you have no working history or no experience about the field of business you are going to challenge, immigration offers will judge the fact negatively and deny your management ability in the field.

A business plan which has an explanation with concrete estimated sales from a loss and profit statement is advantageous for visa screening. But a business plan needs to be realistic. Likewise, you are required to create a constitutional document along with the strict rules. On the premise, you keep it in your mind that your business plan needs to be feasible no matter how persuasive it is to officers.

Investment amount

The Japanese government doesn’t clearly mention about how much a foreigner who starts up business in Japan invests the first business. However, it has a perspective that investing 5 million yen is preferred enough to grants “Business Management” visa.

You can borrow money from your family but in that case, you need to formally make a promissory note between you and your family, and you submit a copy of it as a debt certificate.

If you establish a company with a capital of 10 million yen jointly with your Japanese partner by even capital contribution ratio (5 million yen + 5 million yen), the immigration bureau will accept and issue visa status, “Business Management”. After April 2015, the case that only Japanese partner invests 100 percent capital of company establishment and a foreigner is just introduced as a managing director in the company was approved as a condition of “Business Management” visa. However, in this case, a foreigner will be scrutinized if having management ability from working history and experience.


You are required to run a company with sufficient sales to hire some employees. Employees shall be Japanese citizen, foreigners with permanent visa status, a long-term resident, a spouse visa.

other conditions

While you proceed with the preparation for company establishment, you face a lot of difficulties such as doing tax matter, filling an application form in Japanese, recruitment, etc… Securing office is one of the most difficult preparations for a foreigner to make because of finding a Japanese guarantor.

When you think about the necessity of a guarantor and renting an apartment and renting a room for an office, you’d better find a Japanese partner to support the various contracts that you may stumble on.

When you start up your business, even if you complete corporate registration at a regional legal affairs office, you are not always granted “Business Management” visa. The immigration office will examine your working history carefully, and if your business ability cultivated by your working history will reflect on your business.

Even if you want to do business in Japan, you just select the field by comparing to your working experience and make consistent persuasive application form that immigration officers will approve without any objections.

Things to do to acquire a 4-month “Buiness Mangement” visa

Make a constitutional document

You write the following items in accordance with the fixed format of a constitutional document in Japanese. Constitutional document format can be downloaded from the internet and you can find it at a stationary store.

Company’s name, “Shougou” (商号) Write company’s name
Business purpose, “Jigyou mokuteki” (事業目的) Expain what kind of business you run. Prior to doing that business, you need to be familiar with what type of permission or license you need to get beforehand
Capital policy, “Shihonseisaku” (資本政策) If don’t have plan to hire anyone, you need to invest at least 5 million yen
Office, “Honten shozaichi” (本店所在地) The address to be filled in a constitutional document can be left at local administrative district. If you move to another place very soon after you complete a constitutional document, you should consider if you should leave and address at local administrative district
Fiscal year, “jigyounendo” (事業年度) You need to make the first settlement of accounts within 1 year at the longest. You decide which month you make a settlement
Capitalist, “Shusshisha” (出資者) In many cases, a person who start busness will be a capitalist. If you start business jointly with someone, you should write the partner’s name
Officer, “Yakuin” (役員) “Officer” is a post to support managing business. If you are invited with “Business Manager” visa by a Japanese company, you become an officer with representation of the company.

To certify a constitutional document, you need “Inkan registration”. Inkan is a stamp in place of a signature. However, a foreigner who doesn’t have an address in Japan can’t register Hanko at a municipal office.

In that case, you prepare for a signature certificate issued in your country with its Japanese translation. For a signature certificate, the applicant’s address also needs to be certified. So a certificate of residence also needs to be issued at that time.

Securing office

After you complete a constitutional document, you face difficulty to find a place to start your business in Japan. If you don’t have a residential address and you are in the very middle of establishing a company, no documents, and certificates that identify yourself exist.

You cannot help finding a property owner who is willing to make a lease contract with only your passport and certificates issued in your country. If you can’t find any property owners to rent a room, you end up relying on the cooperation of administrative scriveners affiliated with real estate agencies after all.

Application for Certificate of Eligibility

You apply for a certificate of eligibility at a regional immigration office. The point of difference between ordinary “Business Management” visa and first 4-month “Business Management” visa is whether you complete corporate registration at regional legal affairs office.

If you apply for the first 4-month “Business Management” visa, you start going procedure of corporate registration after you acquire the visa status because this 4-month is recognized as preparation period of setting up a company in Japan.

If you are fortunately granted the permission of the visa status, certificate of eligibility (COE) will be sent to your place. After you receive it, you visit a regional immigration office again to receive a “residence card” which is foreigner’s ID card in Japan.

If you live in your country, the certificate is sent to your country’s residential address. After you receive notification of visa acquisition and certificate of eligibility (COE) from the immigration bureau of Japan, you bring COE to the embassy of Japan or Japanese consulate office in your country and receive the first 4-month “Business Management” visa, and you come to Japan. “Residence card” is usually issued at a major international airport in Japan (Kansai airport, Narita, airport, etc…)

Procedures of company establishment

Things you do for 4 months under “Business Mangement” visa

  • Decide where you live and apply for resident registration at a municiapl office
  • Apply for Inkan registration
  • Open your savings account at a bank in Japan
  • Apply for coporate registration at a regional legal affars office
  • Open a corporate account at a bank in Japan
  • Transfer capital fund into a corporate account
  • Decide your executive remuneration
  • Submit company establishment report and other documents to a taxation office
  • If you need to get a license or permission before doing the business, you get that first
  • Renew “Business Management” visa for the next 1 year at regional immigration office.,

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