Monday, 12 May 2014

Setting Up an Office in Tokyo

So a little background on what I do for those who don't know. I work for a company that makes systems diagnostic tools for vehicles. These are scan tools they make to the specifications of their clients for checking the systems within a vehicle works. One of their main customers is Isuzu, who are a Japanese truck manufacturers that exports all over the globe. Because of this they wanted a person to be on site in Tokyo as Isuzu's main contact, acting as customer liaison and project manager. That's me. The only problem...well a few problems that the company I work for didn't have an office set up in Tokyo and I was completely new and needed training. So I began training about 7 months ago and it's been a mix of on-site work, meeting the team in Isuzu while also setting up the office in Japan because I have the time and organisational skills to do it. If you want something done right, do it yourself. (Unless you don't know how to do it then you ask someone and learn to do it!)

So that's been the bulk of my job the last few months, finding out how to set up an office from scratch single person to use including work visa. That's the main issue really, in order to be able to get a working visa in Japan I need to work for a company that has a company registered to Japan. So we need to register our company. But it cannot be through a virtual or home office, it has to be a physical location with 4 walls and a door, which is actually surprisingly hard to find for a single person when the branch office won't be generating any revenue (as most small offices still seem to cost $2000-$3000 a month including utilities, receptionist services, common area with refreshments, and phone/internet rental).

To say the least it's been interesting and actually quite enjoyable researching the process with the help of JETRO, and finding knowledgeable people to help (which I have found in the form of scriveners who are much better than the lawyers the company were previously looking into). I have almost all the research complete, I just need to check over some details to do with tax and get confirmation to what my company want to do before I can begin the process of setting up the office, registering the company, applying for a visa, finding an apartment and then moving there. I'm hoping this will be done in September. So that's my plan for the next few months.