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



Do you know the “highly-Skilled Foreign Professionals” Visa?

The “highly Skilled Foreign Professionals” Visa has varieties of preferential treatments to foreigners.
As it is created to promote competent foreigners to work in Japan.
If you could obtain more than 70points in one of three categories of activities in the following
“Point Calculation Table”

Let’s look at the preferential treatments when you obtain a “Highly Skilled Professional (i)” Visa.

1. Allowing multiple activities during residence
Highly skilled foreign professionals may engage in activities that span several statuses of residence, such as managing a business related to research activities at a university. Allowing multiple activities during residence.

2. Period of stay: five years
Highly skilled foreign professionals will be given the longest period of stay, five years.

3. Relaxation of residency history requirements for permission for “Permanent Residence”
In principle, the foreigner is required to reside in Japan for at least ten years to receive permission for permanent residency. However, this period might be shortened if they perform their activities as a highly-skilled foreign professional for three years, or even for one year if you are recognized as being exceptionally skilled with a score of over 80.

4. Spouse’s employment
The spouse of a highly-skilled foreign professional might be able to perform the activities of certain Visas such as “Instructor”, “Engineer/Specialist in Humanities/International Services” and “Entertainer” without fulfilling the conditions pertaining to their educational background and employment history.

5. Permission to bring parents under a certain set of conditions
In the current system, there are no specific visas for the parents of foreigners residing in Japan, so the only way they reside in Japan is a “Temporary Visit Visa” for a maximum of 90days. However, the parents of highly skilled foreign professionals, or their spouse’s parents, can enter and reside in Japan under the following circumstances.
① Assist in caring for the child of a highly-skilled foreign professional or the child of the spouse of a highly skilled professional who is no more than seven years in age; or
②assist in caring for a highly-skilled foreign professional who is pregnant or the pregnant spouse of a highly-skilled foreign professional.
※There is also a certain set of conditions that should be satisfied.

6. Permission to bring a housekeeper under a certain set of conditions
Employment of a foreign housekeeper is only permitted for foreign nationals residing in Japan with certain statuses of residence(Visa), such as “Business Manager” or “Legal/Accounting Services.” However, highly skilled foreign professionals are permitted to bring foreign housekeepers under certain conditions.

7. Priority handling of procedures for entry and residence
Priority and early processing are given to highly skilled foreign professionals for entry and residence inspection.

Thank you for reading
Best regards
Yoshihisa Takenaka

Yoshihisa Takenaka
Imigration Lawyer
Gyosei syoshi Takenaka Office
4th floor Marukoshi-bldg
Kawasaki-ku Kawasaki-shi
Kanagawa ,Japan 〒210-0845 
Tel:044-280-6510 Fax:044-280-6511




① 労働契約期間

② 期間の定めのある労働契約を更新する場合の基準に関する事項

③ 就業の場所及び業務

④ 時間外労働の有無

⑤ 始業及び終業時刻、休憩時間、休日、休暇

⑥ 賃金の決定、計算と支払い方法、締切りと支払いの時期

⑦ 退職に関すること(解雇の事由を含む)



労働条件通知書 英語 | 東京外国人雇用サービスセンター (

労働条件通知書 中国語 | 東京外国人雇用サービスセンター (

労働条件通知書 ポルトガル語 | 東京外国人雇用サービスセンター (

労働条件通知書 スペイン語 | 東京外国人雇用サービスセンター (












 特定社会保険労務士     上岡 由美子

〒220-0004  横浜市西区北幸2-9-40 銀洋ビル8階

TEL:045-594-7315  FAX:045-594-7316




With 16 years of experience working in the HR department of foreign-affiliated companies, I’ll support the enrollment of social insurance and the creation of employment contracts in English. Please feel free to contact me if you have questions with social insurance or set working conditions with employees!

Determination and Notification of Working Conditions at the Time of Hiring

Clarification of working conditions is essential

The Labor Standards Law stipulates that it is desirable to conclude a contract rather than a verbal agreement in order to prevent various troubles related to employment contracts. The employer must specify the working conditions when concluding an employment contract. The following items must be stated in writing and handed over to employees (Article 15 of the Labor Standards Law).

① the period of the labor contract
② matters related to renewal of fixed-term employment contracts
③ the working place and job duties
④ existence of overtime work
⑤ the time at which work begins and at which work ends, breaks, days off, and leave
⑥ the determination of wages, the methods of computation and payment, the date of closing accounts and of payment
⑦ matters pertaining to separation (including reasons for dismissal)

In order to comprehensively describe these matters, the model working conditions notice for foreigners will be helpful.
The Tokyo Employment Service Center for Foreigners publishes model working condition notices for four languages.

1)The model working conditions notice in English

2)The model working conditions notice in Chinese

3)The model working conditions notice in Portuguese

4)The model working conditions notice in Spanish

However, the above model working conditions notices do not state what the company wants its employees to comply with such as confidentiality matters. But if there are other matters that the company want the employees to comply with, write them down and have employees sign them as a pledge.

A contract violating the Labor Standards Law is invalid: 
A labor contract which does not meet the standards of this law is invalid. In such a case the invalid sections are governed by the standards set forth in the Labor Standards Law (Article 13).

Please check whether the working conditions of the employees you are going to hire meet the laws in Japan.

If you have any questions regarding expert checks, please feel free to contact us.

Please contact : Contact Form

With 16 years of experience working in the HR department of foreign-affiliated companies, I’ll support the enrollment of social insurance and the creation of employment contracts in English. Please feel free to contact me if you have questions with social insurance or set working conditions with employees!

Yumiko Kamioka
Labor and Social Security Attorney, USCPA
MASHR CONSULTING Corporation Labor and Social Security Attorney
Ginyo Building 8F, 2-9-40, Kitasaiwai, Nishi-ku
Yokohama-city, Kanagawa, Japan
Tel: 81-45-594-7315 Fax: 81-45-594-7316

Amendment of the Articles of Incorporation and Registration

When a company is established, the articles of incorporation is always prepared, but after the company is established, there would be times when the contents of the articles of incorporation need to be changed. How do we change the articles of incorporation and when do we need to register them?

Amendment of Articles of Incorporation

In principle, a general meeting of shareholders is required to change the articles of incorporation of Kabushiki-Kaisha. However, if the head office of the shareholders is located overseas, or if the shareholders resides at several locations it may be difficult for them to gather in one location, a resolution can be deemed to have been passed at the shareholders’ meeting if all the shareholders agree to it. For this, the prescribed procedures are required.


Matters to be registered

If the articles of incorporation have been amended, the amendment must be registered if it is a registered matter. In Japan, not all matters stated in the articles of incorporation are registered, but only those matters specified in the Companies Act are registered as changes.


What are some of the items to be registered?

Corporate name, head office, method of public notice, business purpose, total number of authorized shares, total number of issued shares, paid-in capital, restrictions on transfer of shares, names of directors, names and addresses of representative directors, names of statutory auditors, etc.


Deadline for registering changes

The change must be registered within two weeks of the effective date of the change.

Please note that if you do not register the change within this period, the court (Public Prosecutor’s Office) will send a notice of payment of a fine to the representative director for failing to comply with the registration obligations.

In particular, when the person in charge of operations changes, they may forget the registered term of the office of directors, and there are several cases where the term of office has expired without their knowledge after several years have passed, which may result in an unnecessary fine.

In principle, the term of office is stated in the articles of incorporation, so please check the articles of incorporation carefully.

“Kawasaki One-stop Business Startup Center” can assist you in changing the articles of incorporation and registration even after the registration of incorporation.

The visa for family members.

While you operate your business in Japan, are you going to stay away from your family members for years?
If you can’t live such a lonely life, let’s study about a visa for your family members to live with you in Japan.

The name of the Visa is “Dependent” visa which is called “Kazoku Taizai” in the Japanese language.
This Visa can be granted to your spouse and children.
(Including adopted children too)
If the application for the visa is granted, you can live with your spouse and children in Japan.

The Immigration Bureau will examine the credibility of your relationship with the applicant and whether you have the financial strength to support your family in Japan.

This Visa is for the applicant to receive parental support in Japan, so it will be difficult to get permission when the child is close to an adult. Also, if the child is already financially independent, no permission will be granted.

The period of stay for them is usually decided by your period of stay.
When it is expired and if they want to stay in Japan beyond the period, they can apply for an extension of the period of the visa.

Basically, they can’t work, however, if they could get permission from the immigration bureau, they can work up to 28hours a week.
If they want to work longer than 28hours, they are required to change to another visa that is able to work.

If you want to live with someone other than a spouse or children, such as parents, siblings, and relatives.
They are not subject to this visa.
In this case, they can come to Japan with a “Temporary Visit” visa. Although their period of stay is limited to less than 90day.
And they can’t work in Japan with this visa.
If the applicant wishes to stay in Japan for more than 90 days, he/she should look for other Visa permission possibilities.

Thank you for reading

Procedures Required to Purchase and Export Used Cars in Japan

We receive many inquiries about starting business to sell Japanese used cars overseas.

Since many Japanese people treat their cars as carefully as possible (for example, the bumpers of Japanese cars are often scratch-free), it seems that the price of used cars does not drop much when they are sold overseas.

To purchase and sell used cars in Japan, you must obtain a “secondhand dealer’s permit” from a regional police office. The condition is that there must be at least one sales office and one sales manager in Japan.

If you hire a Japanese person or a foreigner who is already resident in Japan, you can register that person as a sales manager.

If you are planning to come to Japan yourself and get ready to start a business, you will first have to obtain a visa (Business Manager visa).

You can start your business by:

  1. Register your company
  2. Obtain a business manager visa
  3. Acquire “secondhand dealer’s permit”
  4. Become a member of a car auction

Most of the foreign businesses use the car auction platform to purchase used car in Japan.

Kawasaki Onestop Business Startup Center can provide one-stop support for all of these steps.

For a brief information of starting a business in Japan, please see the YouTube video.

Starting Business in Japan | YouTube instruction

Kawasaki One-stop Business Startup Center (One-stop Kawasaki) has released a video on YouTube about the basics of starting a business in Japan. (Thanks to Mr. Julio César Márquez for the narration.)

Please take a look at it to get a ballpark idea about business startups in Japan.

If you have any question, please contact from the contact form of One-stop Kawasaki.

Japanese VISA for hiring foreign nationals

When hiring a foreign national, the foreign national employed must obtain a VISA that is appropriate for one’s business activities. To obtain a VISA, it is required to comply with the standards stipulated by the Immigration Control Act.

Here, I will introduce 3 types of workable visas

1) Engineer / Specialist in Humanities / International Services VISA

This VISA is the most commonly considered when foreigners work for a company in Japan. This Visa would be granted when the applicant performs activities to engage in services which require specialized skills or knowledge pertinent to the field of physical science, engineering or other natural science fields or to the field of jurisprudence, economics, sociology or other humanities fields or to engage in services which require specific ways of thinking or sensitivity acquired through experience with a foreign culture, based on a contract with a public or private organization in Japan

Applicants are required to have one of the following educational background or work experience.

  • Graduated from university with a major in subjects related to the technology and knowledge required for the work to be performed in Japan.
  • Graduated from vocational school In Japan (holding a title of “Senmon-shi” ) with a major in subjects related to the technology and knowledge required for the work to be performed in Japan.
  • More than 10 years of work experience. (Including the period of studying the technology / knowledge at an educational institution.)
  • More than 3 years of work experience. When you are going to engage in work based on foreign cultures,
  • The applicant has passed a test relating to information processing designated in a public notice by the Minister of Justice or holds a qualification relating to information processing designated in a public notice by the Minister of Justice in cases where he/she intends to engage in duties that require skills and knowledge pertaining to information processing.

The application must also meet the following criteria.

The applicant shall receive no less remuneration than would a Japanese national for comparable work.

* At the same time, the continuity and stability of the contracting organization’s business is also required.

2) Intracompany Transferee VISA

This Visa would be granted when the applicant performs activities on the part of personnel who is transferred to a business office in Japan for a limited period of time from a business office established in a foreign country by a public or private organization which has head office, branch office or other business office in Japan, and who engages in the activities listed in the “Engineer/Specialist in Humanities/International Services” column of this article at the business office.

The applicant must have been engaged in the work listed in “Engineer / Humanities / International Service Specialist” at a foreign office immediately before the application for a period of one year or more.

The applicant shall receive no less remuneration than would a Japanese national for comparable work.

3) Skilled Labor VISA

This Visa would be granted when the applicant performs activities to engage in services which require industrial techniques or skills belonging to special fields based on a contract with a public or private organization in Japan.

The following occupations are eligible for application.

(1) Cook

(2) Foreign-style building engineer

(3) Manufacture or repair of foreign-specific products

(4) Jewelry, precious metals, fur processing

(5) Animal training

(6) Oil exploration and geothermal development technicians

※ In the above (1) to (6), “more than 10 years of work experience (including the period of study at an educational institution) for the relevant skill” is required.

(7) Aircraft pilot

It is required to have at least 250hours’ flight experience using skills related to piloting an aircraft, who is to engage in duties as a pilot of an aircraft used for air transport as prescribed in Article 2, paragraph (18) of the Civil Aeronautics Act

(8) Sports leader

It is Required to have at least 3 years of work experience (including a period of study at an educational institution and a period of professional sports) for the relevant skill.

(9) Sommelier

It is required to have at least 5 years of practical experience in the appraisal, evaluation and maintenance of wine quality, and the skills related to the provision of wine (including the period of majoring in wine appraisal etc. at a foreign educational institution).

One of the following is required.
Applicant must be a good performer or experienced in the International Sommelier Competition. Or a qualification holder certified by a national or local public entity (including a foreign country) or a public or private institution equivalent thereto.

Types of Companies in Japan

When you think of settling a company in Japan, you will have to consider which type of company is better for your business.

There are four types of companies in Japan as described below;

1) Kabushiki-Kaisha (KK, Stock Company)

It is widely used from large to small companies.
The investors (shareholders) provide the capital and the management runs the company.
Nowadays, it is possible to establish a stock company with a capital of only one yen in Japan.


— Stock companies have a high level of trust in society and are easier to raise funds
— The investors (shareholders) are only liable to the extent of their investment (limited liability)


— High establishment costs compared to other companies
— Many legal restrictions

2) Godo-Kaisha (GK, Limited Liability Company)

Generally, investors themselves manage the company.
A company is composed solely of members with limited liabilities.
This type of company is often used for small businesses.


— No certification of the articles of incorporation is required (which reduces cost for establishment)
— The procedure for setting up is simple and less expensive compared to stock companies
— This type of company is essentially free to design its own institutions through its articles of association.


— Less social recognition compared to a stock company

3) Gomei-Kaisha (General Readership Company)

Generally, investors themselves manage the company.
As a company is composed solely of members with unlimited liability, this type of company is not used often.


— No certification of the articles of incorporation is required.
— Members can also invest in labor, credit, etc., instead of cash.
— Less expensive to establish a company compared to a stock company.


— In the event of a company’s bankruptcy etc., members would have unlimited liabilities against the company’s creditors.
— Less social recognition compared to a stock company

4) Goshi-Kaisha(Limited Partnership Company)

Generally, investors themselves manage the company.
Company is composed of members with unlimited liabilities and members with limited liabilities.


— No certification of the articles of incorporation is required.
— Members with unlimited liabilities can also invest in labor, credit, etc., instead of cash.
— Less expensive to establish a company compared to a stock company.


— In the event of a company’s bankruptcy etc., members with unlimited liability would have unlimited liabilities against the company’s creditors.
— Less social recognition compared to a stock company

There are many other differences between these types of companies.
You should consider which type of company to set up, taking into account the features, advantages and disadvantages of each company.