Starting a business in Japan – Opening bank accounts and borrowing money

Posted on 28/09/2012 by Koji Takahashi

I am considering borrowing some money from banks to start a business in Tokyo, however, I have heard that it is difficult for a newly established corporation to borrow money. Could you tell me more details about borrowing money and how to select banks for future relations?
Unfortunately, there is no secure way to borrow money from banks; therefore, the best way is to contact several banks. However, it is often said that small and middle banks such as local banks, Shinkin banks, etc*1 are better for small and middle businesses since these banks offer particular services for locally-based sales. On the other hand, commercial banks offer several types of services to big or global companies and so basically they have relatively stricter rules about loaning money. Having bank accounts at commercial banks might be convenient for making settlements with customers, however, we recommend having good relationships with small and middle banks for borrowing money.

Regarding your question whether newly established corporations can borrow money, it is entirely up to the banks and economic situation, although small and middle banks can offer several options to newly established corporations by taking advantage of    government support*2.  Therefore, even newly established corporations might be able to borrow money. Of course, government support could be available at commercial banks; however, as mentioned above small and middle banks tend to offer greater flexibility.


*1  Japan Finance Corporation (Nihon Seisaku  Kinyu Kohko) also offers loans. They have several options for small and middle businesses. If non-Japanese people need English speaking staffs at banks, having a bank account of commercial banks and borrowing money from Japan Finance Corporation is one of options.

*2  Because of a series of new measures intended to stimulate investment, the government (actually implemented by local governments) gives some guarantee and supports interest payments. For details, please contact the banks or local government.


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By Certified Public Accountant (CPA) & Tax accountant, Koji Takahashi
Tokyo & Yokohama