Private limited companies

Japanese business start-up consultant

A private limited company can be a small or large business.

Under the current company law, one person can set up a private limited company. A private limited company has limited liability and these types of business have ‘株式会社(KK)’ or ‘合同会社(GK)’ before or after their business name in Japan. Only the trade name of a corporation can be registered with English alphabet, numbers and some symbols, such as “&(ampersand)”, “,(comma)”, “.(full stop)” and the like.

Any type of business can set up as a private limited company. ‘株式会社(KK)’ is likely to used for larger businesses, and ‘合同会社(GK)’ is for example, a(n) instructor, hairdresser, photographer, etc.

There is no such a big difference from both legal entities, but historically, ‘株式会社(KK)’ is a traditional form of a private limited company. On the other hand, ‘合同会社(GK)’ was introduced in 2016. The biggest difference is registration tax and notary public fee. Registration tax for ‘株式会社(KK)’ is 150,000 JPYen, and one for ‘合同会社(GK)’ is 60,000 JPYen. In addition, articles of incorporation of ‘株式会社(KK)’ should be notarised, which costs about 52,000 JPYen.

Private limited companies pay corporation tax. Corporation tax is a tax on the profits of a business. There is a lot of paperwork to found a private limited company, because the business has to register with the Legal Affairs Bureau, and file annual financial reports to the Tax Bureau.

I hope the information is useful.

I will update every Monday.

For more information

Japanese business consultant

Shihoshoshi Lawyer(Judicial Scrivener)

Akiko HORI

Please keep “Information for registration identification” (登記識別情報) safe.

Japanese business start-up consultant

Occasionally, people who cannot find their “Information for registration identification” are asking how they restore the document.

Information for registration identification is an important document that proves you have the ownership of the real property.
Unfortunately, it is not reissued at the Legal Affairs Bureau.

If there is a risk of theft, there is a procedure of invalidating the PIN code to let the Legal Affairs Bureau know.
However, even after invalidating the PIN code, Information for registration identification is not reissued. That is the system of Japan.

If the document are not found, strict identity verification is required when selling the real property, and the lawyer in charge of the sale will handle it to prove your identity, which normally incur an additional cost. The amount of the cost depends on the lawyer.

One of the best ways to store documents is at home in a safe or file box. If you don’t know which one is an important document, asking in person is the best thing to do.

I hope the information is useful.
I will update every Monday.
For more information
Japanese business start-up consultant
Shihoshoshi Lawyer
(Judicial Scrivener)
Akiko HORI

Real property in Japan and Highly-Skilled Foreign Professionals

Regarding restrictions on foreign ownership of real property vary from country to country, but Japan is a country which falls into the unregulated category.

Up to now, with respect to the purchase of real property in Japan, the number of people who purchase real property in Japan has steadily increased because of the Tokyo Olympics and the weaker yen.
Popular options are to own apartments or commercial buildings in central Tokyo,  and resort properties in Niseko, Hokkaido.

In Japan, there are no restrictions on non-Japanese purchasing real property regardless of their immigration status, such as permanent residence, nationality, or visa type. The taxation for non-Japanese has no difference from the one for Japanese.

There is no time limit on owning real property, an owner can be freely bought and sold, and can be inherited. However, importantly the inheritance tax or estate tax should be considered.

In principle, there is no visa, such as Tier 1 investor visa (UK) or EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program (US). However, if you have a rental property in Japan with stable income, there is a possibility to be granted permanent residency under the “Highly-Skilled Foreign Professionals” system.

The problem would be a language barrier, but please feel free to contact me in English when buying or selling real property in Japan.

“Highly-Skilled Foreign Professionals”



I hope the information is useful.
I will update every Monday.
For more information
Japanese business start-up consultant
Shihoshoshi Lawyer
(Judicial Scrivener)
Akiko HORI

The purpose of the property registration system in Japan

Japanese business start-up consultant

The purpose of the property registration system in Japan is to secure the rights to real property by providing for a registration system to be made to notify the public of real property descriptions and rights, thereby contributing to safe and smooth conduct of transactions.


In terms of safe and smooth property transactions, the kind of right that is established in the property is crucial, so the property registration system provides the information concerning property rights below specifying description of the property, the full name(s) of the person(s) and address(es).

1. Ownership
2. Superficies (Surface rights)
3. Farming right
4. Easement (servitude)
5. Priority privilege (Statutory lien)
6. Pledge
7 Mortgage
8. Right of lease
9. Mining right (Right of quarrying)

Registration identification is issued when a holder of a registered right files an application for real property rights, which an identification code is provided in order to confirm that said registered right holder files an application for the registration, with which the registered right holder can be identified.

You can search the property registration.
However, the information is only written in Japanese.
I provide a professional translation services in real estate industry and legal documents.

Akiko HORI

I hope the information is useful.
I will update every Monday.
For more information
Japanese business start-up consultant
Shihoshoshi Lawyer
(Judicial Scrivener)

Tokyo Today : Population Trends in Chiyoda, Chuo and Minato

At the moment, the worldwide economy has been badly damaged by the Covid-19 pandemic. However, as long as people exists, the business never stops.

In the centre of Tokyo, there is always a lively atmosphere because there are many offices and commercial facilities and a lot of people come to work and go shopping in the city. In recent years, the number of residents has been rapidly increasing and it is becoming more active for day-to-day consumption. The graph below shows Population Trends in the three central cities of Tokyo (Chiyoda, Chuo and Minato). The graph is based on the rate of change of population from 2002 to 2019 (Each year is based on October 1st). The total population of Japan was about 126 millions in 2019, in comparison to about 127 millions in 2002, which is about 1% decrease. However the three cities of central Tokyo (Chiyoda, Chuo and Minato) have quite different circumstances. The graph shows the clear difference when comparing three cities with the percentage of Japan as a whole. The main factors are the large supply of apartments at a reasonable cost, combined with every convenience and a well-equipped urban infrastructure.

As such, now is the perfect time to change things for the future investment.

I will update every Monday.

For more information

Japanese business start-up consultant

Shihoshoshi Lawyer

Akiko HORI

Estate and Succession planning – 1-7. Making a will Part 2

Japanese business start-up consultant

3. Jurisdiction and applicable law in Succession


In Japan, the article 37 of the Act on General Rules for Application of Laws is applied for wills and succession. Article 37 states that the formation and effect of a will shall be governed by the national law of a testator at the time of the formation. Concerning this provision, ‘the formation and effect of a will’ means only matters concerning the transmission of wills, such as the mental capacity, defective evidence of intention, effect of a will or validity of a will. When the will comes into effect at the time of death, the contents of the will, including maintenance obligations arising by reason of death is determined by article 36 of the same law.

Under the Act on the Law Applicable to the Form of Wills, both the governing law of the will (article 37) and the inheritance (article 36) are stated to be the national law, but there is a time gap between the will at the time it was established and the inheritance. If the nationality of the person is different between the time of making the will and at the time of death, the governing law might be different. To avoid the confusion, as a practical matter, a testator can choose which law governs succession to their estate.
In addition, when acknowledging a child or putting an estate in the trust under a will, article 29 (Formation of Parent-Child Relationship with Child Born Out of Wedlock) or article 7 (Choice of Governing Law by the Parties) of the same law is applicable.

As well as the Act on General Rules for Application of Laws, there is the Act on the Law Applicable to the Form of Wills, which was created by ratifying the Convention of The Hague Conference on Private International Law in 1961.
Under the Act on the Law Applicable to the Form of Wills, a formally prepared will becomes valid as long as it complies with the law of the place where the will is established, of the country where the testator has nationality, of the place where the testator had domicile, of the place where the testator had habitual residence or the law of the place where the real property is located.


4. Advice

This selective listing of a large number of laws in the Act on the Law Applicable to the Form of Wills allows a statutory will as far as possible, and most wills made under the law of the place where the testator resides will become valid in most of cases. However, in practice, a will which follows the methods of Japanese law is prepared separately in many cases in order to carry out the post-death administrative procedures for Japanese estate smoothly.
It is possible for an individual to make a will for themselves, but that is not without its risks. There might be technical issues that potentially could go wrong. If there are any errors, these could cause problems after the death. I can advise on arrangements for a will, and highlight potential problems that might arise.

I hope the information is useful.

I will update every Monday.

For more information

Japanese business start-up consultant 

Shihoshoshi Lawyer

(Judicial Scrivener)

Estate and Succession planning – 1-7. Making a will Part 1

Japanese business start-up consultant

1. Historical Background

In Japan, since the Middle Ages, the custom was not only for the firstborn legitimate son to inherit most of his parent’s estate, which was generally the case, but also for the eldest girl or youngest son to succeed to and maintain the family business, such as farm fields or business rights.

In the modern era, when an estate was considered as the sum of a person’s assets, the inheritance process was regarded as one of the division of an estate between a small range of close relatives, such as a person’s spouse and their children or parents. Therefore, the principle is that the sum of a person’s assets is distributed equally to the heirs of a certain rank.

As in France and Germany, the Japanese laws have definite rules on who will receive most of a deceased person’s estate, whether there is a will or none, but there is the freedom of making a will.
In addition, there is a system of legally secured portions for certain legal heirs in order to harmonise the legal inheritance rules and the freedom of making a will.


2. Legal heirs and the inheritance process under the Japanese law

In Japan, a deceased person’s legitimate surviving spouse will always be their heir, but will only be their sole heir if there are no legal heirs in the first, second or third ranks. Legal heirs in the first rank are the children, lineal ascendants (parents, grandparents, etc.) are in the second rank, and the deceased person’s legal siblings are in the third rank. Heirs of the second rank only inherit if there are no heirs of the first rank, those of the third rank only if there are none of the first two ranks.

If there are several people in the same rank, their portion will be divided equally among all those in the same rank. There is no legal distinction between a biological child or an adopted child or by gender, and even if they become married or adopted, they will still be heirs.

If a deceased person’s child dies before them, and if the child has a child (a grandchild for the deceased person), the grandchild is entitled to inherit and will have the same rank as a living child of the deceased person. Furthermore, if the grandchild also dies before the deceased person, and if the grandchild leaves their child (a great-grandchild for the deceased person), the great-grandchild will be one of the deceased person’s heirs. If the deceased child has several children, they share what would have been their parent’s share equally, and the same principle applies to the children of a deceased grandchild.

If there is no child at all, a deceased person’s lineal ascendant (parents, grandparents, etc.) as the second rank becomes the heir. Amongst lineal ascendants, the heirs will be close relatives (parents will be heirs if there are parents and grandparents). If there are biological parents and adoptive parents, both can be heirs as the same rank.

If there is no lineal ascendant, legal siblings become the heirs as the third rank. Legal siblings mean children who have shared at least one parent in common either by blood or adoption. However, if the legal siblings have shared only one parent in common, their share in the inheritance is one half of the share of a sibling who shares both parents. In addition, in this case, if the siblings who are supposed to be the deceased person’s heirs die before the deceased person, only their child (the deceased person’s nephew and niece) can succeed the third rank of heirs, and not the nephew’s or niece’s child.

If it is not clear who is a deceased person’s heir, the family court will conduct a legal procedure. Under this procedure, an executor for the succession who is appointed by a family court, and will search for the deceased person’s heirs under the family court’s supervision, and deal with matters of succession. If no heirs can be found, the deceased person’s estate may be distributed to those who have physically lived together with the deceased person, such as de facto partner or children, or the family court may consider special circumstances respectively. If there is still any remaining estate, it will become national assets.

An estate consists of various assets such as money, land, movables and loan claims, and the methods of division amongst their heirs is called the inheritance division. If the deceased person determines the method of this division by their will or entrusts their assets to a third party, the division will be followed by the method chosen. If there is no such determination, their joint heirs will decide the method. If no agreement amongst heirs is possible, a family court will be involved. The family court carries out the inheritance division in consideration of the type and nature of the estate, rights relating to the assets and any other circumstances.

To Be Continued.

I hope the information is useful.

I will update every Monday.

For more information
Japanese business start-up consultant
Shihoshoshi Lawyer
(Judicial Scrivener)
Akiko HORI

A Happy New Year in 2017

A fresh New Year has just started.

I always think every day has a fresh start to it so that I don’t very much care about the New Year but I like the Japanese proverb “Decisions made on New Year’s Day are the key to a successful year.”

What I think about on New Year’s Day is the past.
I wonder what my life would have been if I hadn’t become a lawyer.

Many people applaud me because I am smart but I only graduated from Junior College (only a two year course) and when I entered the Junior College, I had only taken the interview, not a test paper.
When I was a high school student, I hated calculation and I only studied maths calculations, not written maths questions and passed just a little higher than the borderline.
Even when I become old enough, I failed the Financial Planner examination and I am still not good at multiplication.

All the time I was studying law, I strongly believed in myself, that I was good and I could make every effort to progress, and I inspired myself.

My confident idea is that:
Anybody can be discouraged.
Everybody has drawbacks.
Anybody can feel unhappy.
Nobody has any big differences from others.

When I use the words above, some people say I have anything and I look down ordinary people.
I feel a little sad when I hear something like that but I cannot blame them.
It is arrogant if I expect others to take account my thoughts.
All I can do is to look after myself and decide for myself.

It is more than enough if I am confident about my life and I do my best when making my decisions.

For more information
Shihoshoshi Lawyer Akiko HORI

Legal Advice for Business in Japan

How to Buy a property in Japan

Business structures in Japan – Branch office

Branch office

A branch office does not have a separate legal corporate status so claims and liabilities arising in the branch can be applied to the main company of which it is part.
It could open its own bank accounts or lease property in its own name but it will need to negotiate with a bank or landlord.

The registration details are below.
The address of the branch office, the representative in Japan, the date of branch office establishment, the accounting method used for balance sheets and details of the home company.

How to become a specialist Shihoshoshi lawyer

Hello. I am Akiko Hori, a Shihoshoshi lawyer in Japan.
Thank you for reading this.

Before I went to London, I did any type of legal work that a client asked me to do, Company registrations, Housing issues, Debt solutions or Pre-trial proceedings.
As I had no clients when I started my own office, that was the only way to survive and to retain my office.

Little by little, I built up connections with other Shihoshoshi lawyers and Bengoshi lawyers and with Accountants.
When I decided to follow my husband to London, it was heartbreaking for me to leave behind all my clients and work.

But at the same time, I thought it would be a great chance for me as it would be a great investment for the future if I could speak English fluently, so I decided to go to London.

Since then, I have always been thinking of my career and dearly wanted to specialise as a Shihoshoshi lawyer.

Historically, in Japan, the legal profession was divided.
The most important lawyers are Bengoshi lawyers or advocates, who can represent clients in any case.
A Shihoshoshi lawyer is authorized to represent their clients in real estate registrations, commercial registrations and the preparation of court documents. They may also appear for clients in summary courts and in arbitration and mediation proceedings.

However, the main field in which a Shihoshoshi lawyer was thought to be essential or especially useful was in that of property. Even some Bengoshi lawyers rely on a professional Shihoshoshi lawyer.
Our legal society provides a background for that and I want to be a reliable Shihoshoshi lawyer in the field of property.

When I returned to Tokyo, I went to see a senior colleague who is exactly that sort of professional Shihoshoshi lawyer and he kindly offered me a place in his legal practice.

If I am not busy with my own clients, I practice under his guidance. I have already learnt a lot.
I have learnt about trust registrations, Private Finance Initiative cases, registrations of moveable property transactions and complex property transactions.

Now it is a small step for me but also a great stepping stone to the future.