Published: 15 Feb 2021
Updated: 07 Sep 2022
Category: Business Resources , Business Insights

Starting Your Own Business in Tokyo – How to Acquire a Business Manager Visa


Japan’s edge in innovation as well as product and services excellence is known to drive foreign investments onto its shores. And as the third largest economy in the world, the country continues to be a key market for international businesses and base for expansion in Asia.

Thanks to a highly-skilled workforce and the Internet of Things (IoT), companies and business owners are finding it easier to grasp the local business landscape and access the talent pool, specifically in the hub of Japan’s economic activity in Tokyo.

If you are thinking of starting a new venture in Tokyo, this is what you can do to kick things off – acquire a Business Manager Visa in Japan.


What is a Business Manager Visa – How does it Work?

A popular option for entrepreneurs, the 4-month Business Manager Visa was first offered in 2015 by the government of Japan. It was created to make it easier for foreign nationals in their preparation to set up a business in Japan.
For successful applicants, the Business Manager Visa allows you to do the following within the 4 months:

  • Get a Residence Card

  • Open a bank account

  • Set up and register your business in Japan

  • Apply for an extension of a 1-year stay in Japan with this visa


What Conditions Should You meet to be Applicable for this Visa?

  • Investment capital – You will need to have an overall investment capital of 5 million yen
    Note: Since April 2015, a capital of 5 million yen is no longer a strict requirement, provided the scale of return and investment are enough to employ one staff member.  

  • Full-time employees – You must have at least 2 full-time employees (other than yourself), who must be permanent residents of Japan. 
    Note: Alternatively, 1 of your full time employees can be a foreign national with a long-term visa.

  • Physical office space/retail store – You must have a physical office space or store for your business in Japan. An office address is required (not valid with a temporary office address or virtual office address). In most cases, residential addresses cannot be used as an office address. To seek support in setting up an office space at a recognised business address, reach out to serviced offices providers like Compass Offices.

  • Solid business plan – Your proposed business must be practical and based on a clearly documented business plan. It is important to include a detailed profit and loss statement in the business plan.
    Note: The immigration office determines your eligibility for the Business Manager Visa comprehensively, taking into consideration the amount of investment you put into the company, business stability and credibility, balance of predictable operating profit and loss, amount of employee, types of business on.

Getting Started with Reliable Local Support

To set up an office space at a recognised business address, having local support from serviced office providers such as Compass Offices is an added advantage.

At Compass Offices, we offer a range of flexible offices available for short or long term rental at two popular locations – Ebisu Green Glass in Shibuya and Toranomon 40 MT in Minato.

To help you begin your new business at full speed, our serviced offices are fully-furnished and ready for move-in. It saves you time, cost, and labour in setting up your own conventional office space.

On top of our flex workspace solutions, we provide a multitude of business support services. You will have access to bilingual support with a professional customer service team well-versed in English and Japanese, as well as an unbranded reception with a team to handle your calls and mails.

We also partner with corporate services providers to help fulfill your business needs – from corporate secretarial services to accounting services and more.

How to Apply?

When you are ready to apply, you may want to make an enquiry with your local Consulate-General of Japan, or consult with specialists. See the Japan External Trade Organisation’s reference here.

Please note that the terms and conditions for the Business Manager Visa application is subject to change. For other visas, information and updates, please refer to the Immigration Services Agency of Japan site here.


For exclusive offers, the latest industry news, new openings, and more.

Location of interest: