JETRO, Hastings and Japan Society Hold Sold-Out Program About Starting Companies in Japan

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The Law Offices of David A. Makman recently participated in a Hastings College of Law conference on starting a business in Japan.

David Makman

The takeaway was that the timing is right for startups to consider setting up in Japan. The yen is weak, Japan is encouraging immigration, and JETRO is available to support foreign companies.

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On February 2, 2016, there was a conference at Hastings College of Law on starting businesses in Japan, which was put on by the Japan Society, Hastings College of Law and the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO). “It was a sold-out event,” said David A. Makman, founder of the Law Offices of David A. Makman. “The takeaway was that the timing is right for startups to consider setting up in Japan. The yen is weak, Japan is encouraging immigration, and JETRO is available to support foreign companies.”

Seminar speakers included Akiko Kawakatsu, a Japanese attorney who works at Hibiya Station Law Offices, and Tomohiro Ono, a Japanese attorney who works at Yuasa and Hara. Additionally, Miho Aoki, of PricewaterhouseCoopers, spoke about tax issues that should be considered when setting up in Japan.

When setting up a company in Japan, the first thing to consider is the form of the corporation--the Kabushiki kaisha (corporation) and the Yugen-kaisha (limited liability corporation) have been the most popular corporate forms. Other forms, such as the Goushi-kaisha or Goumei-kaisha, have been less popular, either for governance reasons or due to unlimited liability. Recently, the requirements for directors of corporate entities to be resident in Japan have been relaxed; however, it still makes sense to have at least one director on the ground in Japan.

“Using a lawyer to set up your business in Japan and understanding about contracts, the use of inkan (corporate stamps) and also about the use of stamps to pay taxes on contracts are very important,” said Makman, who speaks Japanese and is the Chairman of the Board of the Japan Society of Northern California. “Apparently, at the time of execution of a contract in Japan, one is required to pay a tax and to affix a stamp as proof of payment to the contract.”

Furthermore, there are special laws on privacy and data collection that need to be considered before committing to a business plan and, of course, one needs to do a compliance check on Japanese labor law issues. From the standpoint of international taxes, compliance with U.S. law can take time, so it is best to investigate tax issues early so that one can make the requisite applications early.

“The aforementioned issues, and more, were discussed at the seminar from a practical standpoint with comments from practitioners and from both a legal and business perspective,” said David Makman of the Japan Society of Northern California. “Due to the fact that the event was full to capacity, it demonstrates the great interest in startup culture that we have in the Bay Area.”

About David A. Makman
David A. Makman is an attorney with the Law Offices of David A. Makman, a boutique firm with an international practice whose attorneys focus on legal issues involving technology and disputes in a number of areas, as well as non-litigious matters such as business formation. He is Chairman of the Board of the Japan Society of Northern California. For more information or to schedule a consultation, please call (650) 242-1560.

About the NALA™
The NALA offers local business owners new online advertising & small business marketing tools, great business benefits, education and money-saving programs, as well as a charity program. For media inquiries, please call 805.650.6121, ext. 361.

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