I’m Takashi Akeyama, a representative of the Niseko VISA & Immigration Support Centre. As the only administrative office in Hokkaido specializing in VISA & Immigration and tourism, we help foreigners living in Hokkaido, mainly in Niseko, Otaru and Sapporo areas, to apply new or extend VISA, to change the status, such as working visas and spouse visas etc..

When a foreigner starts a business, he/she obtains a status of residence ‘management’. Before applying for this status of residence, the company must be established, and the business must be ready to start.  The company you set up cannot be just any company, and there are various rules and restrictions that must be complied with in order to obtain this status of residence.

First of all, in order to set up a company, you must decide on its location, the location of its office. The choice of this office will make the difference between being granted or not granted this status of residence. In this article, we will explain the key points in choosing the right office、what kind of office you should choose.

What is the job description of the status of residence ‘management’?

The main activities (job description) of foreign nationals with the status of residence ‘management’ are ‘management’ and ‘administration’. In the case of a company or business managed by a Japanese, the president may play several roles. For example, it is not uncommon to find sushi restaurants where the owner serves customers by making sushi at the counter as a sushi chef and manager. But can a foreigner with this status of residence do so? For example, a Chinese chef managing a Chinese restaurant and cooking in the kitchen himself is not permitted under this status of residence. The job descriptions of this status of residence are “management” and “administration”, and it does not include on-site work in the restaurant, such as cooking and serving customers. In addition, customer services such as practitioners in massage parlors, beauticians in beauty salons, manicurists in nail salons, etc. are also not permitted under this status of residence. For this reason, in order to obtain this status of residence, a place (=office) for ‘management’ and ‘administration’ work is always required.

Do you need an office?

The office is a place for ‘management’ and ‘administration’. You need a place with a dedicated desk and computer where you can do your management and administration work. Without these, you are not considered to be able to do management and administration work. Therefore, it is a prerequisite to have an office in order to obtain the status of residence ‘management’.

Can you use your home as an office?

It is not permissible to use a home as an office. As an exception, if the house is detached and has two or more stories, and the living space and office space are separated, this may be permitted. Alternatively, if the structure is a shop and house, with separate entrances for the shop and the house, and the interior space for customers and the living space are completely separated. In other cases, such as using one room of a three-bedroom flat or half of a one-story house for an office, the requirements for this status of residence are not met, so even if you can establish a company, you cannot obtain this status of residence. Therefore, if you are currently living in a flat, no matter how spacious the property is or if you have an extra room, you should prepare an office separate from your home.

Can you use shop/restaurant as an office?

No, if there is no dedicated office space in the shop or restaurant. There must be a separate office space with proper walls and doors. If you use a shop as an office, for example, by bringing a laptop computer into the restaurant’s seating area to do office work and removing it during busy times to use as seating, you do not meet the requirements for this status of residence.

 Can you use a rental/share office?

If it is a private office, it is regarded as an independent office and can meet the requirements for this status of residence. On the other hand, a free desk plan with no dedicated space, or a virtual office that only handles telephone calls cannot meet the requirements and it is impossible to obtain the status of residence.

The name of the contract.

When renting an office, the name on the contract should be in the name of the company you are about to establish. If the contract is signed in the name of an individual, it is not meet the requirements of the status of residence. In general, when renting property in the name of a company, you need to provide a certificate of the company seal and the company register. However, as the company is not yet established, you cannot submit these documents. So how do you sign a rental contract in the company’s name? For example, inform the real estate agent and the owner of the property in advance that you will sign the contract in your own name, but that you will submit the necessary documents and change the name to the company’s name once the company has been established. Then the contractor’s name is changed as soon as possible after the company is established.

What is the purpose of using the property?

If you rent a property to be used as an office or shop, the purpose of use stated in the contract is ‘office’ or ‘shop’. If the purpose of the property is a ‘residence’, it is not met the requirement of this status of residence. Residential use is a residence and not a place to do business. So, immigration officer will judge that you will not doing business. And your application for residence status will be rejected. Therefore, when signing a contract, be sure to confirm the intended use of the property.

If you use your own property as an office.

Some people already own property and want to use it to start a business. The individual COE and the company are considered separate persons. Therefore, even if the property is in the name of the CEO, the company cannot use it without permission or contract. The company can use the real estate for its business if it concludes an agreement to lease the real estate from the CEO.


In this article, I have explained how to choose an office in order to obtain a status of residence ‘management’.

The important points are,

(1) Secure an independent office. 

(2) You cannot use a shop as an office, not use your home as an office.

(3) The name of the contract should be in the name of the company,

(4) The purpose of use should be “shop”, “office”, etc,

In addition to these, there are many other detailed requirements for obtaining this status of residence. If you are unsure about the procedures, it is better to ask an administrative scrivener’s office about the establishment of the company.

The Niseko VISA & Immigration Support Centre help and support foreign nationals who are trying to overcome language, cultural and custom barriers and live as a member of Japanese society. If you have any questions or enquiries about this article, or about the establishment of the company and status of residence ‘Management’, please feel free to contact us by phone or via the ‘Free Consultation Form’ on our website.