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gepg1
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Post by gepg1 »

Hello JSL: great to be here !

I’m a Canadian (living in Canada) interested in creating a temporary presence in Japan, and ultimately relocating permanently to a country-setting. I’ve visited Japan several times in the past and feel strangely connected to the place - hard to explain really - but a sense that I’m meant to be here. (A bit woo-woo I know - forgive me.)

Since I’d prefer not to teach English, nor work full-time for a Japanese company, I am looking closely at the Business Manager Visa or the Start-Up Visa. The plan would be to open a consultancy targeted towards overseas companies in Japan. (My background is Finance, Accounting & Data Science ).

Regarding the BM / SU Visa: I am wondering if anyone out there has gone this route, or knows someone else who has. Obviously. I am doing alot of research and will hire a Japanese immigration consultant at some point, but I’d like to hear from real people with real-life stories. e.g. The SU visa has a 6 month duration with a possible 6 month extension: but what happens after that? Another requirement is a 5MM Yen investment: but would a home-purchase with a dedicated in-home office space qualify? This is important for me, b/c since I want to buy a home (in the country-side and with cash of course) I could kill 2 birds so-to-speak. (It seems as if this forum is full of resourceful people, so I’m looking for ‘out-of-the box, creative & alternative’ approaches, LoL ! )

I have a host more questions, but I’ll leave it at that for now. I’ll inundate you with the rest later ! That said, I plan to visit Japan again in the September/October time frame, so I want to gather as much information as possible prior to then.
Any help, suggestions, cautions, recommendations would be greatly appreciated…

Thanks, GP

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Post by Zasso Nouka »

Welcome to Japan Simple Life GP and thank you for taking the time to sign up, we really do appreciate that.

First off I'll be honest with you, I think you are best off discussing this with an immigration consultant as they will have the most up to date experience in what is probably somewhat of a specialist area. They work quite closely with the immigration office so know about the various ins and outs and quirks each office they deal with has. I came here originally on a spouse visa so don't have any working knowledge of obtaining a start-up or business manager visa.

Having got that out of the way living here in the Japanese countryside is a pretty pleasant environment to be in. People are generally friendly, it's a nice environment to be in and fast fibre cables mean online work is pretty easy.

Hope things work out for and interested to hear how you get on.

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Post by donguri »

Welcome aboard!

I'm currently on a spouse visa, waiting on permanent residence approval (!) but spent most of my many years prior on self-sponsored "specialist in humanities" visas, which is a fancy term for freelance English conversation partner/teacher. It wasn't my dream job, but it enabled me to live here, support myself and play in the band, which was my main purpose at the time. I don't have any experience with the manager/start up visa, nor have I ever met anyone with that particular visa, so no specific advice related to that, sorry.

You mention the rather short term of 6 months with a possibility of 6 month extension. I think this would make purchasing property and attempting anything in the countryside extremely difficult. Things in the countryside tend to move slowly and if you are doing it alone, as a foreigner, probably take even longer. It's not impossible, but it can be dependent on having Japanese friends or connections with someone in the area who will vouch for you or introduce you. Not sure about your Japanese level, but at least a basic level will make connections with local folks easier.

There have been a number of changes to the immigration policies and terms in the last few years, so consulting with a specialist will give you a lot more info. The info online can be vague at times, especially if it's the English version.

Please don't take my comments as negativity, there are certainly creative ways you can get around almost any difficult situation, it's sometimes just a matter of understanding the bureaucracy. And the best way to get a grasp on that is to actually be here and deal with it, ha ha! Seems like your first order of business is to figure out how to be able to legally reside here for a substantial amount of time.

Best of luck, keep us posted.

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Post by gepg1 »

@donguri @Zasso Nouka

Thank you both for your responses. I realize that my chosen route is a little unusual but I will plough ahead regardless. I will start chatting with the immigration consultant next week and will post what I've discovered. Perhaps it may be of use to someone else in the future.

Cheers, GP

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Post by Zasso Nouka »

As Donguri says there can be creative ways to make thing happen but I imagine there are not many of us here that have pursued the same path you are hoping to but don't let that deter you.

It will be interesting to hear how you do get on and could be useful to others in the future so please do keep us updated.

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Post by edmundedgar »

gepg1 wrote:
Wed Aug 05, 2020 2:10 am
Regarding the BM / SU Visa: I am wondering if anyone out there has gone this route, or knows someone else who has. Obviously. I am doing alot of research and will hire a Japanese immigration consultant at some point, but I’d like to hear from real people with real-life stories. e.g. The SU visa has a 6 month duration with a possible 6 month extension: but what happens after that? Another requirement is a 5MM Yen investment: but would a home-purchase with a dedicated in-home office space qualify? This is important for me, b/c since I want to buy a home (in the country-side and with cash of course) I could kill 2 birds so-to-speak. (It seems as if this forum is full of resourceful people, so I’m looking for ‘out-of-the box, creative & alternative’ approaches, LoL ! )
I haven't gone this route - I got visas as a company employee then got permanent residence. But looking it up, it sounds like the Start-Up thing is a kind of initial step for the Investor visa. So the idea is that you're *going* to register a Japanese company with a 5 million yen investment or two full-time Japanese staff, but that takes some time, so first you submit your business plan to a participating local government, they sign off that it looks good, then you show up and register your business and apply for the Investor Visa.
https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2019/ ... epreneurs/

The Japan Times piece suggests that you need an office, and they won't just accept a coworking space. I strongly suspect - although I don't know for sure - that the local government would be suspicious about an office in a rural location for a finance / data-service consultancy, if you're supposed to be dealing with international clients in the city. I also suspect being in the city is practically helpful; Nowadays I work with clients in Tokyo from out in rural Tochigi-ken and I only go to see them occasionally, but they're people I knew from when I worked and networked in Tokyo - it would definitely have been harder to get set up if I'd been out here from the start.

Relatedly, my impression is that renewals tend to be much more lax than initial visas, so maybe you could get yourself set up in a city with a physical office, then move out to the countryside later. Also, I don't know the exact details of the Investor Visa (until I just looked it up I thought you needed 2 Japanese full-time employees) but my guess is that "investment" is a matter of putting capital into the business, ie you move money from your personal bank account into your business's bank account, and on paper it now belongs to your company. Once it's set up, the business belongs to you, so you're still able to control that capital.

So you might be able to do something like:

0) [Optionally: Get a start-up visa first]
1) Start a company in Tokyo/Osaka with 5 million yen of capital
2) Get an investor visa
3) Run it out of Tokyo/Osaka for a year, if you're not making much yet then gradually drain the capital to pay yourself a consistent salary and tax and social security.
4) After a year, get the first visa renewal
5) If the company still has capital and you don't need it for operations, have it buy a house in the boonies for it and yourself. If it doesn't, buy your own house.
6) You've got an established business and a couple of years of paying your taxes, so hopefully future visa renewals will go through on the nod.

Expect to spend a good million yen or so setting up the company and getting your accounts done for the the first year, and at least 50,000 yen per month on office rental.

Finally, anecdotally there does seem to be quite a lot of randomness / latitude when it comes to Japanese visas, and it may be that with Corona slashing the number of people who want to move you can get lucky and get accepted for something that would normally get refused. (Also, the opposite may happen...)

HTH, DYOR etc etc

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Post by gepg1 »

@EdmundEdgar
Thanks so much for that wonderfully in-depth response. You've given me a great deal to think about and some solid tactics to try.
I will get cracking and post results.

Cheers !