Japan - Commercial Guide
Establishing an Office

Includes steps involved in establishing a local office.

Last published date: 2019-10-13
Establishing an office is relatively straightforward. According to the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business report, incorporation takes about 11 days and costs 0.7% of paid-in-capital (or JPY 60,000, whichever is higher) in addition to a company seal charge and registration fee. Other options include a branch office or a representative office, both of which are simple and inexpensive to establish but come with restrictions on the types of activities the local operations can carry out. Companies offering ‘co-working’ spaces (i.e. private or semi-private office space plus secretarial or IT staff) are also becoming an option for companies in major Japanese cities.   

Before setting up an office in Japan, U.S. companies may wish to examine Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade & Industry (METI) programs for promoting foreign investment into Japan. These programs include loans available through the Japan Bank for International Cooperation and the Development Bank of Japan. Entry-level business support programs are provided by the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) as well as by some municipal and prefectural governments. Current information on investing in Japan, establishing an office, and  other JETRO programs for foreign businesses can be found at JETRO.