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Japan to ease visa rules for foreigners launching businesses

  • 2015-01-20 15:00:00
  • , Nikkei
  • Translation

(Nikkei: January 20, 2015 – p. 1)


 The government will relax visa requirements for foreigners hoping to start businesses in Japan, part of an effort to boost investment in the country.


 A foreigner hoping to launch a business must register a company first in order to obtain a visa to live here. But a company cannot be registered without a residency certificate, which requires a visa. While a foreigner can get a visa by having someone in Japan register the company, the registration procedure is virtually impossible to complete alone.


 New rules taking effect in April will let foreigners submit documentation of an intent to form a business, such as articles of incorporation, in lieu of a registration certificate.


 The government will also create a new four-month visa for these would-be entrepreneurs given that a residency certificate can be issued only to a foreigner entitled to stay longer than three months. Three-month visas are the shortest visas now available.


 When foreigners seek to renew visas, the government plans to approve long-term stays if they can show progress toward starting a business, such as establishing a company. Visas for entrepreneurs will be available for one-, three- and five-year periods in addition to three and four months.


 The government’s growth strategy calls for boosting foreign direct investment in Japan to 35 trillion yen ($295 billion) in 2020, double the tally at the end of 2012. [Translated by Nikkei/edited by MATT]

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