Setting up a branch office of a foreign company

Office COSOMOPOLITAN assists foreign companies in setting up branch and sales offices in Japan.

If you want to establish a branch in Japan and any of the concerns below sound familiar, Office COSMOPOLITAN can help.

  • I’d like to start a business in Japan, but I don’t know where to start.
  • I’d like to set up a branch/sales office in Japan and I need to know the advantages and disadvantages.
  • I’d like to know how a foreign company goes about setting up a branch office in Japan.
  • I want to start on work visa application(s) while setting up a branch/sales office.
  • I’ll need an integrated consulting service to handle social insurance, human resources management, tax and other issues after setting up a company.

Office COSMOPOLITAN can provide you with solutions for these types of concerns.

When we handle establishment of your foreign company branch office, we give careful consideration to all aspects of setting up your business, including work visas, social insurance and labor insurance filings and applications, personnel management and tax issues.

How to set up a branch/sales office in Japan

The simplest means for a foreign company to establish a base for its business operations in Japan is to set up a branch. A branch office typically operates not as an independent corporation, but with direction and decision-making by a head office, as it handles the day-to-day business of providing services, purchases, importing and sales. In general, therefore, responsibility for debts and liabilities arising from the branch’s activities ultimately lies with the foreign company. A branch office is able to open bank accounts and lease property in its own name, however.

★ Those choosing to establish a branch or sales office as a base for doing business in Japan must follow the steps outlined below.

  1. Preparation
  2. Foreign company branches are required to register in accordance with the registration requirements for the type of Japanese corporation most similar to that of the foreign company. Therefore, we review the foreign company (head office) articles of incorporation, certificate of incorporation, certificate of business registration and other documents in order to determine the information that must be registered.
    You will also need to determine information that will be registered, such as branch address, representative in Japan and date of establishment.

  3. Preparing the affidavit
  4. An affidavit certifying the registration information is required when applying for registration of establishment of a branch. This document must be a certificate issued by the appropriate authority in the foreign company’s home country, and may be obtained from either the company’s embassy in Japan or from a notary public in the company’s own country.

  5. Other required documents
  6. Branch applications and affidavits in languages other than Japanese will be translated into Japanese.

  7. Application for registration with the Legal Affairs Bureau
  8. The affidavits and their translations, the application and other documents are then submitted as part of the application for registration to the Legal Affairs Bureau with jurisdiction over the area where the branch is located. If all the documents are in order, registration is usually completed in about one week, and the branch can obtain its Certificate of Registered Company Information and company seal registration certificate.


  • ♦ Office COSMOPOLITAN has years of experience, the necessary know-how and a proven track record in establishing foreign company branch and sales offices in Japan.
  • ♦ We listen carefully to your needs in order to prepare your documents.
  • ♦ We take work visa application(s) into account at every step of your branch’s set up.
  • ♦ We are able to provide you with the integrated consulting services you need for your business, including social insurance and labor insurance filings and human resource management services, as well as tax consultation services through partnerships with numerous tax professionals.