Licenses on Business Folder in Multicolor Card Index. Closeup View. Blurred Image.

Depending on the type of business you are planning to establish or manage you might need an appropriate field-specific license to run your company. Usually, it takes around 2-3 months to obtain a license, but the time may vary for different sectors. That is why applying for your business license in advance is highly advisable.

Starting operation or operating without a license might and most probably will lead to company’s shutdown or severe financial penalties. It also possible that the management might be prohibited from operating in a given sector for several years, or even be legally prosecuted and imprisoned. A company will face the same situation if it changes the registered details or sphere of operation but does not notify the authorities about it within 60 days.

Other duties regarding the licensing include but are not limited to:

  • filling and submitting annual reports about the company’s activities
  • keeping its registered details up-to-date in the licensing agencies
  • renewing the licenses at the regular intervals in accordance with the regulations

Thus, it is always a great idea to consult a legal specialist and confirm if you need a license and of what kind.

Japan has a vast variety of licenses meant for all kinds of operations. It is hardly possible to mention and list all of the categories and subcategories. This guide provides information on the most used types of licenses, where and how to apply for them, and what laws regulate the operations of these businesses.

Businesses that need certifications are but not limited to:

Real Estate and Construction

Building, renting or leasing and everything in between.

Food Industry

Opening a restaurant, a cafe, or a bar.

Alcohol Handling

Wholesale, retail, and brewing of alcoholic beverages

Dealing in Second-Hand or Used Products

Cars, antiques, works of art, etc.

Recruitment Services

Recruiting agencies, temporary personnel services, etc.

Financial Services: Summary

Introduction to financial licensing in Japan, main principles and laws, an overview of common types of financial businesses.

Financial Services: Banking

Fund transfer and payments agencies, bitcoin exchanges, accountancy, certified public tax accountancy, consulting, etc.

Financial Services: Virtual Currency Exchange

Providing exchange services in between fiat money, bitcoin, and other cryptocurrencies as the main line of business.


Import, manufacturing, and distribution of cosmetics and quasi-drugs.

Medical and Pharmaceutical Business

Production, distribution, and sales of drugs and medical devices through marketing agents in Japan.

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