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Legal Services for International Residents in Japan

International Business

We are able to assist with legal cases for International people residing in Japan, such as:

  • Starting up business
  • Traffic accidents
  • Wrongful dismissal
  • Felonies, charges, and arrest

Need Help With A Legal Problem?

We, Nagoya International Law Office, welcome the following cases in regard to International people in Japan.

  • I live in Japan with my Japanese family. I’m thinking of starting up a business in Japan. Are there concerns and policies I should be aware of because I am not a native Japanese citizen?
  • I have been rear-ended in a car accident. Can I get compensation for injury and property damage?
  • I work for a Japanese company in Japan. Now I am leaving the company but I’m worrying about my visa. Can I remain in Japan?
  • I work for a US company in Japan. I have a 1 year contract which has been renewed several times over the years. The company informed me they are not renewing the contract for next year. What can I do?
  • I work for a US company in Japan. They don’t pay me for overtime work. Can I claim overtime work payments?
  • I was arrested because I was carrying cannabis into Japan. What will happen to me?
  • I have been living in Japan for many years. I hit and injured someone when I was drunk. Can I keep my visa?

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Staring up a Business in Japan

Solution

You can start up a business in Japan even though you are an International resident. You can engage in almost any area of business, although there are some restrictions for International investors. You must prepare the documents required by law, for example the articles of incorporation in Japanese, therefore it is highly recommended to hire a lawyer and have a consultation.

If you would like to acquire a business manager visa for starting up a business in Japan, you must apply for changing your visa status at an immigration office. If you hire a lawyer, you will be able to avoid unnecessary trouble and delay.

Information

You can design organizations freely, for example the number of directors, board of directors, types of stocks, and so forth, according to Japanese corporate law. You can choose whether each shareholder selects directors depending on the number of shares, the major shareholder chooses all directors, or you can also give veto to some shareholders or directors.

If you are thinking of acquiring a business manager visa for starting up a business, you must rent an office and submit a business plan to the immigration office. The business plan should include an expense for more than 5 million yen each year. The immigration office usually asks about feasibility.

Our Service

We will create a framework of organization according to your business plan, type of business, or any other requests. After that, we will make the articles of incorporation to finalize your requests. We collaborate with an experienced judicial scrivener (Shihou Shoshi) to perform the registration process. If you wish to acquire a business manager visa, we will make a business plan according to your requests. You can rely on us even if the immigration office gives you supplementary questions with a tight deadline.

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Frequent Q&A

Q.

Can I start up a business by myself?

A.

You can start up by yourself in Japan. One shareholder and one director is enough.

Q.

How much money do I need for a capital find?

A.

You can start up with only one (1) yen. However, if you would like to acquire a business manager visa, we recommend you start up a company with at least 5 million yen of capital funds.

Q.

Can I start up a business in Japan even though I am living outside Japan?

A.

The best way is that you come to Japan for the procedure, but you can also start up even when you are outside of Japan. We would be happy to assist in these matters via a consultation.


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Injury in a Traffic Accident

Solution

Even if the car damage looks minor and the injuries look like they are very mild and do not require immediate medical treatment, we strongly advise you to call the police to the scene of the accident so you can get an official record which is called (Koutsuu-jiko shoumei-sho :交通事故証明書). Later, retrieve a copy of the report and hold onto it. This report will contain several important details that could help you.

You can negotiate the amount of compensation with the insurance company, and if the compensation seems unfair, you can file a lawsuit for proper compensation to the court.

Information

If you get injured in a traffic accident you have a right to be compensated for any:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Medical expenses
  • Lost income
  • Lost potential future income
  • Other related expenses

How much compensation you can claim will not depend on your nationality. However, cases occur in which the compensation is a smaller amount as compared to what is offered to a person who is Japanese.

Normally the insurance company offers you some amount of compensation after medical treatment is completed. If you suffer physical symptoms after a car crash, you might also get a right to be compensated for lost potential future income.

Our Service

We, Nagoya International Law Office, will explain how to claim for traffic accidents and how to calculate appropriate compensation. We can represent you to negotiate for compensation against the insurance company in order to receive appropriate compensation.

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Frequent Q&A

Q.

Can I claim for lost income if I cannot work because of the accident?

A.

If you obtain a doctor’s note proving that you are actually unable to work, the insurance company will normally pay you for lost income. Please note that ‘not able to work’ doesn’t mean you cannot go back to your previous work, but you cannot work in general. Even though you cannot go back to your previous work, if you are able to work in general, it falls into the category of ‘able to work’.

Q.

What is ‘consolation money for mental damage for injury’ (Nyuu-tuu-in Isharyou :入通院慰謝料)?

A.

If you are hospitalized or are treated at a hospital, you get paid consolation money for mental damage caused by injury. The amount will be calculated based on certain rates, and will not rely on individual circumstances.

Q.

How do they calculate compensation for lost potential future income (Kouisho Isshitu Rieki :後遺症逸失利益)?

A.

There is a certain calculation formula based on your annual income, grade of aftereffects, and workable period. If your visa is not permanent, your compensation will differ depending on when you are leaving Japan.

Q.

Can I receive compensation even if I illegally stay in Japan?

A.

You have a right to receive compensation even if you are staying in Japan without a valid visa. Also, staying in Japan illegally is nothing to do with amount of consolation money. Illegal stay effects your workable period because you are subject to deportation and not supposed to stay for the long term.


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Problems at Work

Solution

You can apply for a wrongful dismissal or unpaid overtime wage to the Labor Tribunal Procedure in the court. There is a special tribunal procedure for individual labor disputes provided by the court which is called ‘Labor Tribunal Procedure’ (Rou-dou Shim-pan :労働審判).”

Information

In the Labor Tribunal Procedure, the Labor Tribunal Committee seeks a solution in a suitable way through three (3) mediation sessions. If the mediation fails to reach an agreement, the Labor Tribunal Committee will make a decision. If one of the parties appeals the decision, the case will be transferred to the civil court.

In the case your employer is a non-Japanese company, they still must follow Japanese Labor laws such as Labor Standards Act, Labor Contracts Act, Minimum Wages Act, Industrial Safety and Health Act, and so forth, when they employ you in Japan. The Labor Standards Act regulate dismissal without reason, and the rules of overtime work wages. In a basic sense, these regulations prevail individual labor contracts.

Our Service

We, Nagoya International Law Office, will send a letter and try to negotiate a settlement of the case with your employer for the first step. If the negotiation fails, we will apply to the Labor Tribunal Procedure for the fastest settlement. We can support your visa status during the negotiation or tribunal procedure.

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Frequent Q&A

Q.

I don’t have a clause of overtime work payment in my employment agreement. Can I get paid for overtime work?

A.

Employers have to pay for overtime work, but there are some exceptions, for example:

  • Someone in a supervisory or a managerial position
  • Someone who works outside office with uncontrolled working time
  • Someone who works at his/her discretion.


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Arrested for Committing a Crime

Solution

If you are arrested, we recommend you appoint an English speaking lawyer as your defense counsel. If you don’t have the financial resources, you can use the court-appointed counsel which is called ‘Kokusen-bengonin :国選弁護人’, but the court-appointed counsel normally doesn’t speak English. Due to this, a translator must be provided which may impact how frequently the counsel can be consulted as the schedules may conflict. Also, visa support will be required because a guilty sentence effects your visa status in certain cases.

Information

Once arrested, you are detained for the first 72 hours. During this period, investigators are granted permission by the court to detain you for 10 more days if they cannot investigate thoroughly they obtain permission for an additional 10 days (20 days in total). After the investigation and having you detained, the prosecutors will decide if an indict to the court is required. If they decide to indict, you will be detained normally until the trial ends. The period depends on the case, but if you admit the crime it will take 2 months or more. If a drug-related crime is committed, you will be subject to a deportation order.

Our Service

We, Nagoya International Law Office, will frequently consult you at the detention facility.

We can communicate with you in English, also we can explain and report your situation to your family in English. We will defend your case considering if special permission to stay in Japan is acquired.

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Frequent Q&A

Q.

Is it easy to be released on bail?

A.

Basically, it is not possible before the prosecutors decide if they indict you or not. After indictment, you might get released if you satisfy the conditions. Your nationality does not effect this as long as you are legally in Japan.

Q.

I was found guilty. Can I remain in Japan?

A.

It depends on your original visa status and the type of the crime you committed, but basically if your sentence is a one-year imprisonment or more, you will be subject to the deportation order. If you are issued a deportation order, you cannot legally stay in Japan anymore unless you obtain special permission to stay in Japan.

Q.

My execution of imprisonment was suspended by the sentence. Can I legally keep staying in Japan?

A.

It depends on your original visa status and the type of crime you committed. If you committed a drug-related crime, it will lead to deportation even though you received a suspension of execution of your imprisonment. If you stay with a working visa, committing crimes normally lead to deportation. For more information, please contact us.

Q.

Will the immigration officers detain me right after the sentence with suspension?

A.

No. Two weeks are necessary for the sentence to become final and binding. For these two weeks the immigration officer cannot detain you and you can freely and legally leave Japan.

Q.

I was rendered a fine punishment. Can I legally keep staying in Japan?

A.

Fine punishment is not subject to deportation, but it may effect your visa renewal.

Q.

What is ‘special permission to stay in Japan’ (Zairyu Tokubetsu Kyoka :在留特別許可)?

A.

If the immigration officer determines you have special reason to be permitted to stay in Japan, they can give you ‘special permission to stay in Japan’ (Zairyu Tokubetsu Kyoka :在留特別許可) under certain conditions even though you are subject to deportation.