Laws and Taxes

In a country whose legal system may be unfamiliar to you the AHK Japan is a valuable source of information. We provide briefings on labor, tax and other relevant legislation.

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We can also refer you to external tax and legal experts, who will provide you with extensive advice in English or German on complex matters like company establishment or contract reviews.

Company Establishment

You will find an initial overview in the following fact sheets about type of companies in Japan.

Joint stock company (Kabushiki Kaisha)
Partnership (Godo Kaisha)
Representative office
Branch office

Certificate of Origin

In Japan the chambers of commerce and industry are tasked with issuing certificates of origin. To request issuance of a certificate of origin, a company must be registered with the relevant Japanese chamber irrespective of whether it is a member of the chamber or not. A certificate of origin can normally be issued within two business days.

Indication of Origin

With few exceptions, such as silk products, there is no statutory requirement for goods imported into Japan to show their place of origin. From the consumer protection perspective, however, it is necessary for certain products to provide details of their origin if they are offered for sale in Japan.

The identification of place of origin is governed by the Act Against Unjustifiable Premiums and Misleading Representations (see Article 4: Prohibition of Misleading Presentations) under the auspices of the Japan Fair Trade Commission (JFTC).

If an indication of origin is given, it must be clearly recognisable as pertaining to the product (as part of the packaging, in the form of a description of the goods, in a catalogue, etc.), although it is not important where the indication is carried. If the origin is indicated in any of the ways below, it must be accompanied by the actual name of the country of origin, so that the consumer can immediately recognise where the goods in question were produced:

  1. The name, place or flag of a country that is not identical to the actual country of origin
  2. The name of a designer or a company who or which does not originate in the actual country of origin of the goods
  3. Total or partial rendering in a language other than that of the actual country of origin of the goods

Use of such identifying marks without referring to the actual country of origin is deemed confusing and consequently illegal. Japan's customs will only allow the label "Made in EU" when the exporting country is identical to the country of origin.

Customs Duties and Documents

Information on customs rates, as well as prohibited and restricted goods, can be obtained on the "Japan Customs" website.

Japan is a signatory to the ATA Convention, and the conditions for the issue and use of ATA carnets are largely identical among the member states. In Japan, responsibility for issuing the carnet rests with the Japan Commercial Arbitration Association (JCAA), and not the chamber of commerce and industry as in Germany.

Business Contracts

In principle, it is possible to use a typical business contract as used in Germany (preferably in English language). However, we recommend obtaining the advice of a local expert before signing in order to ensure that the contract matches the needs and interests of both parties.

Reverse Charge Mechanism in Japan

The reverse-charge mechanism applies to the treatment of sales tax on the provision of business-to-business (B2B) electronic services, by which the purchaser of the service files and pays sales tax. For further information, please refer to the homepage of the National Tax Agency.