Let’s talk about “office space” for Business Managers

Photo by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash

After the outbreak of covid-19, we all know that we are capable of work remotely, but “laws” do not change instantly.

According to the publicly available information provided by Immigration Services Agency of Japan under the Ministry of Justice, Immigration Bureau understands “venture” companies (≒ startups) do not need a physical space and they tend to use their home address for registering a company.

In August 2020, Immigration Services Agency of Japan decided to show the office guideline along with the guideline for business continuity.

https://www.moj.go.jp/isa/content/930005791.pdf

Definition of “office (事業所)”

Immigration Services Agency of Japan refers the definition of “office” to what Ministry of Public Management, Home Affairs, Posts and Telecommunications (総務省) states. [reference]

  1. Economic activity is conducted under an indipendent business owner in a specific section
  2. Products and services are continuously provided via people and equipments

According to the official documents (p.1), “a monthly space” is not considered as “an office” that enables the business owners to continuously provide products and services.

What should be in the office contract?

It’s hard to own a space, so we can “rent”, and the rental agreement should include the following.

  • purpose of the usage is “business”
  • signed lessee must be “legal entity”, not an individual

If we want to use a part of our home as “office space”, we have to specify on the rental agreement that

  • rentor approves the lessee to use the space as business purposes
  • rentor approves the lessee can sublease the space to a legal entity
  • office space is a dedicated room with required business equipments (ex. PC, printer, phone…the document does ‘not’ mention about FAX!)
  • there is a clear rule on the bill (water, gas and electricity) payment

and the home office should show the company’s signboard.

Success cases

The document kindly explains which cases were accepted and unaccepted.

Case A.
The main purpose of a rental agreement was “residential”, but the lessee had a special agreement with rentor that the space can be used for business purposes

Case B.
The registered main office was director’s house, but the branch office was a property of chamber of commerce.

Case C.
The entrance of KK and the entrance of applicant’s house were different, and there was a signboard at the entrance of KK. In the office space, the applicant had PC, phone, office table and printer.

Some of the unaccepted cases didn’t have any office equipment in the space, signboards around the entrance, and rental agreement under company names.

+α : some banks also want to see “office contract”

An “office contract” for a physical space may help opening a corporate bank account, too. According to my personal experience when I launched a company, two mega-banks asked me to provide a fixed office contract (they were expecting 1–2 years of office contract). I only had a virtual space membership, and I couldn’t open an account with them.

A different bank accepted my application with my virtual membership office plan. I had been using the bank for my personal expence for over 5 years, so that must have been the big plus for the bank.

Again, the acceptance of Business Manager Visa depends on different factors as well such as contracts with Japanese organizations, investment amount, cash balance, team members — so it’s hard to specify the clear guideline, but at least we should all access to the publicly available information.

I hope this information helps you to increase the chance of getting a Business Manager Visa in Japan. The next article will cover the guideline for business continuity in regard to financial status of our company. Let’s keep learning together and accessing more opportunities to start a business in Japan!

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