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Japan Begins Start-Up Visa Program to Attract Foreign Business

December 2017, 12
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Japan-Begins-Start-Up-Visa-Program
Japan has a plan to attract overseas entrepreneurs by issuing start-up visas, valid for one-year. The aim is to create competition for acquiring talents amid localities and make the economy active again.

The program will have the trade and justice ministries in the forefront and start a national pilot project in the fiscal year of 2018. It will be a part of the economic package which will be approved by the cabinet. The related laws and ordinances, governing strategic special zones will be revised by the ministries. The start-up visa Holders are permitted to reside anywhere in Japan for one year when they submit plans showing the opening of offices and securing required funding in their stays.

In the present system, a foreign person aiming to begin a business in the country needs to get a Business Management Visa. Additionally, apart from opening an office, the applicant needs to have 2 full-time employees or to raise more than five million yen as capital.

There are Exceptions like in the special zones of Tokyo and Fukuoka Prefecture, where overseas start-up originator can reside for 6 months and arrange necessary preparations for the Business Management Visa. Only 30 special start-up visas have been issued during the previous two years.

The opinion among overseas entrepreneurs is that 6 months is a small period. Tokyo has appealed to the government to extend the visa period to one year because seeking a rented office space, opening required bank accounts, arranging funds and other tasks are tough for a non-Japanese individual.

The Ministry of Economy, Industry, and Trade will create a framework, in order to help local as well as the regional governments, to assertively inviting start-ups from overseas.

The ministry will also certify the localities, which can provide assistance, as accountants and lawyers, who are able to speak a foreign language, and also cooperate in the offices and housing issues. The ministry has planned to refer projects, supported by these localities, to government-related lenders, and funds in the public-private sector.

Japan wishes to get better in international competitiveness and create an accommodating environment to attract the best talents from across the globe.

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