Business structure in Japan

Incorporating a foreign business

Representative Office / Liaison Office
Has no legal personality and capacity of its own. Its activities are on account of the parent company and are limited to collecting and processing information, exploration and promotion activities.

In practice, this has ended up only associated with financial organisations. Branches in Japan have no legal status nor capital of their own. Their capacity for contracting, management and accounting and tax obligations are the direct responsibility of the parent company.

Mercantile Company (Subsidiary)
Public Limited Company or Limited Liability Company. Governed by the Companies Act and the Code of Commerce. The company capital of both may be from 1 yen and there must be one ore more partners

Mixed Company or Joint venture
Foreign companies are not obliged to have a local partner. Incorporating a mixed company or joint venture will be justified when the partner provides contacts, mercantile and financial relations from the country.


The creation of joint ventures is not advisable when little is known about the local partner or when the interests of the two parties do not absolutely coincide.

Incorporating a company in Japan

Companies in Japan are governed by the Companies Act and by the Code of Commerce. They are registered in the Companies Register.