Guide for the Opening Corporate Bank Accounts in Japan

The purpose of this guide is to provide an overview of procedures for opening corporate bank accounts, and to assist you with structuring the best banking management practices from outside of Japan. The guide’s focus is for the banking needs of small- to mid-size Japanese subsidiaries of international companies.
Due to changes in FACTA, and other regulations to prevent money-laundering, banks are changing the criteria for opening bank accounts, especially for international companies. Once you have selected a few banks, you will need to confirm the account features with the bank via your local director.

1. Difficulty of Opening a Bank Account

We have seen many Japanese subsidiaries of international companies to struggle with opening a bank account because local banks worry about the credibility of the Japanese subsidiary. It is important to know that Japanese banks only allow companies with a high level of credibility to open bank accounts. Credibility is generally built through meeting the following conditions:

・Existence of local director who the bank can trust based on his credit history
・Existence of physical office
・The Representative Director is a resident of Japan
・Business type of KK or GK
・Existence of a local phone number
・Shareholder’s company size and business type
・Compliance with FACTA regulations

Since April 2016, changes in corporate law have allowed a company to be established with a non-Japan resident serving as the Representative Director. However, Japanese banks generally only approve applications from a companies with a Representative Director who lives in Japan. Below is a summary of the difficulty in opening a bank account by the type of company: