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Four Rumors About Japan Immigration Policy

Recently, there have been various rumors regarding immigration to Japan, including “Invest 130 million yen (approximately US$860,000) to obtain permanent residency in Japan,” “No need to rent an office or have a capital of 5 million yen to apply for a business manager visa,” and “The Japanese government is planning to introduce an angel investor visa.” Are these rumors true? Let’s analyze them one by one.

 

 

Is it true that investing around 130 million yen can get you permanent residency in Japan?

There is currently no official policy document supporting the claim that investing 130 million yen can grant you permanent residency in Japan. It is only a proposal still under consideration by the Osaka government.

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On February 19, 2024, in order to comply with the Japanese government’s introduction of the “Financial and Asset Management Special Zone” policy, Osaka announced that if it becomes a special zone, it will propose that “foreign investors need to establish a company within the designated special zone and make a certain scale of investment in local growing industries. For example, in the Osaka region, investors need to invest approximately 120 million yen (about US$ 790,000) in local growing companies or industries within three years, which may lead to obtaining permanent residency in Japan.”

 

 

However, there are currently two points of uncertainty regarding this proposal. First, Osaka has not yet become a “Financial and Asset Management Special Zone” in Japan. Second, the proposal from Osaka that “investing 120 million yen may lead to permanent residency” is just one of the 30 proposals for its application to become a special zone. The specific implementation and feasibility of this proposal remain unknown.

In addition, there are other conditions and requirements, such as the need for investors to have a fixed office space in Japan and a clearly defined sustainable business plan. Moreover, this is typically not a simple “investment guarantees residency” model; investors often need to actively participate in business operations and comply with relevant immigration regulations stipulated by the Japanese Immigration Bureau. Overall, while such policies offer a pathway for foreign investors intending to reside long-term in Japan, the specific application process may involve complex investigation and assessment.

 

Is it true that the Japanese Immigration Bureau is about to introduce “Digital Nomad”?

On February 2, 2024, the Japanese Immigration Bureau announced plans to introduce a new residency status-related policy. The policy indicates that to stimulate domestic consumption in Japan, eligible applicants will be granted visa-free entry. They can stay in Japan for up to six months and are allowed to bring their family members along.

 

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However, the system is currently still in the stage of soliciting opinions from the government and has not been fully implemented yet. Results are expected in early March. Japanese Minister of Justice, Ryu Koizumi, stated publicly during a press conference, “The new policy will start soliciting opinions from the public beginning on the 3rd of this month, aiming to officially implement it next month.”

“Digital nomads” refer to individuals who can live and work freely and flexibly using digital technology and the convenience of the Internet without the need for a fixed office. Currently, there are over 35 million digital nomads worldwide, and it is estimated that this number will exceed 1 billion by 2035. The Japanese government recognizes the purchasing power of this vast group and will fully support the implementation of this new policy.

 

Requirements for applying for the residency status of “digital nomads”:

1.Applicants must reside in countries and regions that have concluded tax treaties with Japan, country list see https://www.mof.go.jp/english/policy/tax_policy/tax_conventions/tax_convetion_list_en.html.

2.Annual income must exceed 10 million yen (approximately US$70,000).

3.Must be enrolled in private health insurance.

 

Is it true that you can apply for a business manager visa for up to two years without the need for registered capital and leasing an office?

At the beginning of 2024, Japanese media reported that the Japanese government planned to significantly relax visa requirements for foreign investors entering Japan for entrepreneurship in 2024. Foreign investors could obtain an investment management visa in Japan for up to two years even without an office location or investment amount requirement, as long as they had a business plan. However, this claim is only speculation by one Japanese media. Currently, there is neither a government proposal nor official policy documents to substantiate this.

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In fact, the current requirements for applying for a business manager visa remain unchanged. The reason for the rumors about the Japanese government planning to significantly relax the requirements for the business manager visa is to attract more foreign investors to start businesses in Japan and to bring in more overseas talents with innovative ideas to promote Japan’s economic development. Whether in the future, introducing new business manager visas or reforming the existing ones to relax the conditions further remains uncertain.

 

Is is true that Japan will launch an Angel Investor Visa?

According to Nikkei Asia Review, Japan plans to introduce a new five-year residency visa for angel investors and venture capitalists to attract entrepreneurial funds. This new investment visa is expected to be launched in the next fiscal year starting from April 2024 and will apply to Japan’s 13 strategic special zones.However, this rumor also exaggerates the length of residency for the visa and is vague about the authenticity and application conditions of the visa itself. In fact, there has been no official proposal from government media or officials for this visa, and even the specific application conditions have not been hinted at by government departments. Compared to the aforementioned government proposals, this rumor is more likely to be unfounded. Therefore, waiting for the specific implementation of the visa seems remote.

Currently, the main immigration statuses in Japan that are supported by legislation and are being processed are still the regular Business Manager Visa and the Highly Skilled Professional Visa. In order to compete for talent with developed countries, Japan introduced the Special Highly Skilled Professional Visa last year, which allows applicants to obtain permanent residency in Japan in just one year.

 

The application conditions for the Business Manager Visa and the Highly Skilled Professional Visa in Japan only require:

1.Establishing a company in Japan and having a fixed office location.

2.Registered capital meeting 5 million yen (approximately US$30,000).

3.Actual operation of the company after landing in Japan.

 

In summary, whether Japan’s immigration policy will become more relaxed in the future, whether there will be more types of visas, and whether there will be changes in the future remain uncertain, with no official confirmation available at present.

 

 

References:

https://www.nikkei.com/article/DGXZQOUF196FX0Z10C24A2000000

https://news.yahoo.co.jp/articles/9145b0d53597c2e7dbfd97f2ccf92bf69fb5cd53

https://japanese.joins.com/JArticle/310763?sectcode=A00&servcode=A00

https://asia.nikkei.com/Spotlight/Japan-immigration/Japan-seeks-to-lure-angel-investors-with-5-year-residencies

https://www.imidaily.com/asia-pacific/japan-to-launch-angel-investor-visa-ease-investment-requirement-for-entrepreneur-stream/

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