Work life balance and Japanese bank holidays

Today(10th August, 2020) is a bank holiday, called Mountain Day in Japan. It is a public holiday stipulated by the Article 2 of the Act on National Holidays, and according to the law, there are 16 days of public holidays a year in Japan.

The number of public holidays in the UK, where I lived in the past, is 8 days a year.

I often feel that there are too many bank holidays in Japan, and when I find that Japan has twice as many bank holidays as the UK, I think to myself my feeling is right.

I have made a comparison of the number of bank holidays in the UK and Japan, so let’s take a look at some of the cultural differences related to holidays. As a reader of this blog, you may relate to Japanese society, and you may also hear that the Japanese people don’t take a day off work unless it’s a bank holiday.

In my experience, colleagues go to work even though they have a fever or a bad cold. Ever since I started to be self-employed, I’ve been thinking that they don’t need to push themselves too hard about going to work, but many of them I know go to work anyway. Then, if their condition gets worse, they would go home. However, it is likely for them to stay in their office until 5 or 6 pm. The background to this attitude, on the positive side, is that it is an expression of a sense of responsibility that they shouldn’t inconvenience other colleagues, but on the negative side, the old practice of “traditional loyalty” still exists in Japanese society.

I hope that the attitude above will be changed soon because of the recent Covid-19 pandemic.

On the other hand, when I talk to friends from Britain about this matter, their typical attitude is that “No way!”. Then, they ask next how many days of holiday Japanese workers have. The answer is about a week. When I answer like that, they definitely say that that is not a holiday at all. At least a month of annual holiday is needed. I’m sure that Japanese culture has certain strengths, but I personally hope, as my British friends say, that the standard holiday entitlement should be at least a month.

In addition, in Japan, there is a custom, called “OBON” (お盆), to welcome the spirits of ancestors from the afterlife to return for a few days in the middle of August. It will be from 13th to 16th August in 2020. This custom is regarded as a Buddhist one, but a memorial service has been held once or twice a year to honor the spirits of ancestors since ancient times of Japan. “OBON” is an event that integrates ancient Japanese customs and Buddhism ones.

Note to self, “OBON” is not a bank holiday, so council offices and banks are open for business as usual.

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

Estate and Succession planning – 1-1-1. How is Inheritance Tax calculated in Japan?

Japanese business start-up consultant

The Japanese Law, tax system and inheritance system shall prevail in this blog.
When proceeding this type of scheme, the case should be dealt with a tax accountant.

I previously promised in this blog about writing the calculation for the inheritance tax in Japan. In Japan, the Inheritance tax is a tax on beneficiaries, each heirs should file the inheritance tax return individually. However, generally speaking, legal heirs ask for this task to the same tax accountant. That’s why it looks as if legal heirs file the Inheritance tax return all together at once.

Firstly, the Inheritance tax in Japan will be incurred as shown below.

STEP 1: Calculation of the taxable gross estate, including the receivable amount of life insurance.

STEP 2: Debt deduction and other fees, such as a funeral ceremony fee.

STEP 3: Basic deduction. This is statutory deduction, and if the taxable gross estate is under this deduction, heirs should not need to declare the inheritance tax return.
30,000,000 Japanese Yen + 6,000,000 Japanese Yen x The number of heirs.

STEP 4: Calculation the total amount of inheritance tax assuming that the heirs divide the deceased person’s estate in a legal portion.

¥100,000,000 – ¥48,000,000 = 52,000,000

Ex.) 1. Taxable estate amount.

  Total estate

After Basic Deduction



Acquired amount on the law basis
Spouse ¥ 52,000,000 × 2/4= ¥26,000,000
Child 1 1/4= ¥13, 000,000
Child 2 1/4= ¥13, 000,000
  1. Tax calculation

By using the table below, the amount of tax for each legal heir is calculated.

Table for deduction amount

Acquisition amount of

each legal heir (A)

Tax Rate (B) Deduction amount (C)
¥10,000,000 and under 10% ¥0
¥30,000,000  and under 15% ¥500,000
¥50,000,000  and under 20% ¥2,000,000
¥100,000,000  and under 30% ¥7,000,000
¥200,000 ,000 and under 40% ¥17,000,000
¥300,000,000  and under 45% ¥27,000,000
¥600,000,000  and under 50% ¥42,000,000
Over ¥600,000,000 55% ¥72,000,000



  Legally acquired amount (A)×(B)-(C)  
Spouse ¥26,000,000 ×15%- ¥500,000 = ¥ 3,400,000
Child 1 ¥13, 000,000 ×15%- ¥500,000 = ¥ 1,450,000
Child 2 ¥13, 000,000 ×15%-- ¥500,000 = ¥ 1,450,000
    Total Inheritance Tax ¥ 6,300,000


STEP 5: Proportional distribution the total amount of inheritance tax by the actual inheritance amount that each heir inherits. The Inheritance tax in Japan is calculated based on the actual received amount. If each legal heir get one-third of the estate, the actual inheritance tax ratio is shown below.

  Total Inheritance tax Actual receivable ratio  
Spouse ¥ 6,300,000 ×1/3 = ¥ 2,100,000
Child 1 ×1/3 = ¥ 2,100,000
Child 2 ×1/3 = ¥ 2,100,000
There is a Marital Deduction (Until ¥160,000,000) for the legitimate spouse in Japan. There are various types of deduction. Further consultation is needed.

The Japanese tax authority doesn’t recognise the joint account under the Common law because they always put their importance to the actual contribution to a married couple’s estate. Sometimes, this might lead to the mismatch of cross-border taxation.


It is so easy to make mistakes and, if there are any errors, this can cause problems after the death that will go on to create unintentional upset for the family. A good lawyer or tax accountant is likely to save money in the long term because we can deal with things quickly.


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

Business structure in Japan – A Stock company

Establishing a Kabushiki-Kaisha (K.K.) (Stock company)

A K.K. is owned by its shareholders whose liability is limited by shares.
A K.K. is a separate legal entity to the company directors, therefore it is the business itself that shoulders the financial liability if the business goes wrong.

The registration details are below.The name, address, amount of capital and business purpose of LLC, the accounting method for balance sheets, share capital information, director(s) and representative(s) and share transfer restrictions (if applicable).

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.