Getting a startup off the ground is rarely a simple affair. In Japan, the difficulties are multiplied for foreign founders who must jump through a series of hoops to attain the appropriate right to work.
The innovation scene has become much more dynamic in the past decade, especially after the flea-market app Mercari attained unicorn status in 2018. Japan has been looking to accelerate growth in this sector further, recently introducing a Cabinet post to oversee the promotion of startup policies earlier this month. Some of the old stumbling blocks remain, however.
For example, obtaining the prerequisite business management visa requires ¥5 million in capital. You’ll also need to hire some locals and be subject to investigations into your company’s shares and investment profiles, as well as undergo an Immigration Agency assessment on how you acquired a managerial position at the company.