Another challenge for foreigners to start a business in Japan | Opening A Business Bank Account

For foreigners who want to start a business in Japan, there are many things that they have to do, such as finding an office, registering a company, and applying for a visa.
However, there are many specialists in Japan who can speak English, and we provide consultation and actual support. We at Onestop Kawasaki are a unique group of such specialists.

Today, let’s talk about another barrier you face when you set up a company, get a visa, get the business license you need, to start your business.

That is, “I can’t open a bank account in the name of a corporation.”
Japanese banks can easily open an account for individual account even if they are foreigners if they have a status of residence, but the hurdle is greatly raised when it comes to “corporate name”.
The reason is that in the case of a corporation, the transaction amount is also large, so “credibility” is judged more strictly. This is the same when a Japanese person starts a business individually.

On the other hand, Japan is said by the United Nations to be a country with loose restrictions on money laundering. The Financial Services Agency and other Japanese government agencies are closely monitoring the opening of bank accounts in the name of foreigners, which can be a hotbed for money laundering. Japanese used car export business is said to be the target. It seems that there have been malicious cases in the past. If you are planning a business to buy used cars in Japan and sell them overseas, you should be careful.

There are many documents required for this, and it takes time and effort to prepare financial plans and proof of assets currently owned by tax accountants and certified public accountants.
And the most confusing thing is that the criteria for opening an account have not been clarified openly.

In my experience, when I asked the bank why it was refused to open a new corporate account for a Pakistani entrepreneur, there was no further explanation saying, “I made a comprehensive decision.”
Eventually, the president gave up and decided to start the trading in his personal bank account. About a year later, the opening of a corporate account was finally approved due to the success of the individual transaction record and the appeal of the person’s enthusiastic attitude.

Talking about another case, when a foreigner started a business with the support from JETRO (Japan External Trade Organization), the person could easily open a corporate account with a support letter from JETRO. However, in order to receive JETRO support, it seems that the foreign headquarters must be of a certain size or the investment amount must be of a certain size.

When formulating a business plan, you may have to assume that there are such facts.

For more details, please contact

Published by

Ritsuya Kaminaga

Certified Administrative Procedures Legal Specialist