Here is the information about the registration process, fee and risks of starting a business as a foreigner.
First of all, a foreigner needs a visa to stay in Japan except the cases of permanent residence or marriage with a Japanese.
Generally a “Human scientific knowledge and international business” or “Engineer” is the basic one.
For the case of starting a business, the visa is called “Investment and management.”
In order to apply for this visa, a foreigner needs to register a new company in Japan in advance, which is to prove that you are ready for doing business in Japan.
Therefore, a foreigner needs to register a new company before applying for the “Investment and management” visa.
The registration process is exactly the same to how Japanese people register their companies.
It would be easy if a foreign is living in Japan and has the living address since a living address is necessary to register a company. If the foreigner is living outside of Japan, he/she will need a partner who is living in Japan and has the living address to help him/her register the company together.
Basically the process can be done through professional agents. Even through the cost will be higher this way, less mistakes and less time can be guaranteed. I’ll never recommend run the whole process by yourself.
The cost for registration is around 2000~2400 USD, including handling fee for government and license registration tax. Additionally, it’ll take tens to hundreds USD to make the corporate stamp and some specific documents.
Only the rules for share capital are different for foreigners from Japanese people.
A Japanese can set up a company even with only 1 yen, but a foreigner needs at least 5 million yen (50,000 USD) as share capital for his/her company in order to apply for the visa of investment and management.
Although it’s theoretically possible to borrow 5 million yen for short term to register a company, in the view of operating a company with sufficient fund, I cannot recommend this.
Then, when the company is registered and everything for a business is ready, a foreigner can start to apply for the visa.
4,000 yen (40 USD) and business plan are needed for this visa.
The feasibility of business operation is the point for inspection. If it is considered difficult to operate this business, the application will be turned down and the registered company will become nothing.
As a result, the business plan is very important.
A foreigner needs to realize in advance that even 2,000 USD are needed to register a company, it could just be gone if the visa is not approved.
Next, I’ll try to explain the process in Finland where I’ll go in August.