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back to index backASIAtalk July,  2005

Establish a business presence in Japan in one of three modes

In order to increase the amount of business growth in the Japanese market, it is usually necessary for your company to open an office in Japan. Some companies make this decision very early on in order to position for future growth, and other companies build their Japan business to the point where the costs are outweighed by the benefits.

When opening your Japan office, the first decision you will need to make is determining which type of business best meets your needs. Foreign companies generally establish a business presence in Japan in one of three modes.

Representative office

Representative offices are established as locations for carrying out preparatory and supplemental tasks aimed at enabling foreign companies to engage in full-scale business operations in Japan. These offices may conduct market surveys, collect information, purchase goods and implement publicity/advertising efforts, but they are not permitted to engage in sales activities.

Branch office

The simplest means for a foreign company to establish a base for business operations in Japan is to set up a branch office. The branch office can begin business operations as soon as an office location is secured, the branch office representative determined, and the necessary information. A Japanese branch office may open bank accounts and lease real estate in its own name.

Subsidiary company

Setting up a subsidiary company is the method of choice for most foreign companies, as this signifies a commitment to operations in Japan that potential partners and clients will hold in high regard. The process of setting up a subsidiary company in Japan takes around three months.

If you have questions or are ready to begin setting up your Japan operations, JETRO is here to help. For full details on the costs and benefits of setting up your company's office in Japan, please contact us to set up a meeting. We have business development professionals in the United States and Japan who (at no cost to you) are here to guide you through the process of setting up your Japan operations.

Source: JETRO - GAI

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