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Opening a Business Bank Account in Japan: Overview


 



Setting up a bank account for your business in Japan is a crucial step in establishing your venture in the country. While the process might appear complex given the cultural and language barriers, understanding the steps and requirements can make the task more manageable. Here’s a basic guide to help you navigate the process:


1. Select the Right Bank:

Before diving into paperwork, research to find a bank that aligns with your business needs. Consider factors such as service scope, fees, digital infrastructure, and the bank's reputation in assisting foreign businesses.


2. Prepare the Necessary Documents:

Documentation requirements might vary by bank, but commonly requested documents include:

  • Certificate of Historical Matters: Company Registration Certificate, a document proving your company's registration in Japan.


  • Company Seal (Inkan or Hanko): Most banks will require your company seal, and some might also ask for the seal registration certificate (Inkan Shomeisho).


  • Personal Identification: Identification of the representative director or the person opening the account. A general form of identification. This usually includes a residence card and passport for international residents.


  • Articles of Incorporation: A document outlining your company's business scope and structure.


  • Business Plan or Overview: Some banks may request an overview of your business operations, expected sales, and other forecasts.


  • Tax Payment Certificate: While not always required, some banks might request proof of tax payments.


3. Visit the Bank in Person:

Unlike personal accounts, business accounts often require a face-to-face meeting ( not required for online ). The representative director or the designated person should visit the bank's branch to initiate the account opening process.


4. Fill out the Application Form:

You'll be given an application form to fill out. This form is typically in Japanese, so if you're not fluent, consider having a translator or a trusted Japanese-speaking associate accompany you. Some banks in international hubs like Tokyo might offer English forms or assistance.


5. Attend the Interview:

Banks often conduct a brief interview to understand your business operations, reason for account opening, expected transaction volume, and other related information. This helps the bank gauge the legitimacy and intent of the business.


6. Wait for Approval:

Once you've submitted all required documents and completed the interview, the bank will review your application. This can take anywhere from a few days to a couple of weeks.


7. Activate Your Account:

Once approved, you'll receive your account details, passbook, and any other necessary items like bank cards or digital tokens for online banking. Ensure you understand all functionalities and fees associated with the account.


Points to Consider:

  • Language Barrier: Banking terminologies can be intricate. It's often beneficial to engage a bilingual financial consultant or advisor to guide you through the process.

  • Banking Fees: Understand all fees associated with the business account, from monthly maintenance to international transaction charges.

  • Digital Platforms: If your business operations rely heavily on digital transactions, ensure that the bank's online platform is robust and user-friendly. We recommend considering Wise.


While the process to open a business bank account in Japan may seem layered, meticulous preparation and understanding of requirements can streamline the journey. Engage local experts where necessary, and prioritize clear communication with your chosen bank.


SxS Partners has a network of professionals on our advisory team ready to support you in getting your business started in Japan.




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