How to start a business to sell Japanese Used Cars

Many inquiries to the Kawasaki One-Stop Business Startup Center about starting a new business in Japan are the export and sale of used cars. Even now, many foreigners procure used cars in Japan and sell them overseas like, the Middle East, Africa, and Europe.

The total number of used passenger cars sold in Japan in 2020 was 3,342,505 units, which is a slight decrease of 99.2% from the previous year but forms a stable market of around 3.3 million units every year. The number of used cars exported in October 2021 compiled by the Japan Used Car Export Industry Cooperative was 101,216 units, a decrease of 15.3% from the same month of the previous year. By destination country, Russia ranked first for the sixth straight month. The number of vehicles in the country increased by 19.9% to 15,046 units. The second-placed United Arab Emirates continued with 10,781 units, down 21.3% year-on-year. Kenya came in third, with exports down 1.3% year-on-year. Tanzania, New Zealand, and Chile are in fourth place and below.

Now, let me briefly explain the legal procedure for conducting this business.

Chapter 1 Establishing a company
First, create the articles of incorporation, which should be called the blueprint of the company. Information on the company’s business, capital, founder, and directors is described. What is stated here is the basis of the company. Next, determine the location of the head office. You can set up a company in a shared office or at home, but you need a completely private office to get a business and management visa. Our experts will advise you on the detailed conditions.
When the articles of incorporation are completed, you should ask a notary public to certify the articles of incorporation and apply for registration to Legal Affairs Bureau.

Chapter 2 Obtaining a Business / Management Visa
A business/management visa is a status of residence that allows you to do business in Japan as a business owner or manager. There are many conditions to obtain this visa, and it is well known that the capital must be 5 million yen or more. There are various conditions for the office as well. It is necessary that the office is already prepared and the company is registered so that the business can be started immediately.

The most important document for evaluation by the Immigration Bureau is the business plan. From the business plan, they will judge whether the business that the applicant is trying to do in Japan is feasible and sustainable. Yes, we can say that the most critical point for a business/management visa is how to appeal the feasibility of the business to the Immigration Bureau by your business plan.

Especially for the used car export business, there are many applications for business and management visas targeting this field, so the Immigration Bureau already has detailed information. Therefore, in most cases, the visa will not be given for a thin veneer plan. You need to seriously consider your business plan and make it as detailed as possible.
At Kawasaki Onestop, we will support the work of experts hearing the business plan and incorporating it into the plan.

Chapter 3 Obtaining a business license
To buy a used car, you must get a secondhand dealer’s permit. Regional Police are in charge because of monitoring the sale of stolen goods. Apply to the police station that has jurisdiction over the location of the office. Both individuals and corporations can register, but in doing business, many people aim to apply at a corporation in the sense of increasing the reliability of transactions.

In order to obtain the permission of the antique dealer, it is necessary to actually set up a sales office and assign a full-time sales manager. The sales manager can also be appointed as the representative director. You can open your business at home, but you will be asked to clearly separate your private space from your office space. (This is also an important point for immigration to check when obtaining a business/management visa as mentioned before.) If everything is OK, the permit will be granted in 2 weeks to 1 month.

Regarding the purchase of products, newcomers often purchase used cars from used car auction sites in Japan. There are many auction sites like USS, i-Auc, JU, etc. in Japan. Register with each auction company and open an account. At that time, depending on the auction, if you have a track record of more than one year after obtaining a secondhand dealer’s permit or if you are a corporate member, you may be required to have a bank account in the name of the corporation, so be sure to check with individual auction company in advance.

Used cars sold from the auction site can be stored in parking space that you have secured by yourself, or you can bring them to the stockyard at the shipping port and ship them directly. There are many specialized companies called “Otsunaka” that carry out a series of export procedures.

For more details, please contact




第一章 会社を設立する

第二章 経営・管理ビザを取得する


特に中古車の輸出ビジネスについては、この分野をターゲットにした経営・管理ビザの申請が多いこともあり、入管は詳しい情報を把握しています。したがって付け焼刃な計画ではビザが下りないケースがほとんどです。真剣に事業計画を検討してできるだけ詳細に作る必要があります。Kawasaki Onestopでは、専門家が事業計画をヒアリングして計画書に落とし込む作業についてサポートいたします。

第三章 事業のライセンスを取得する



Published by

Ritsuya Kaminaga

Certified Administrative Procedures Legal Specialist