How to Switch to a Virtual Office in Japan
According to GitLab, in a 2021 survey of 3,900 professionals across 6 continents, 1 in 3 respondents stated they would leave their jobs if remote work was no longer an option.
These findings are confirmed by a McKinsey report of 5,043 full-time employees, 30% of whom said they were likely to switch jobs if returned to on-site work.
For business owners in Japan who want to transition to a fully remote work model to keep employees happy, there’s a specific hurdle to clear: Japan's business regulations require companies to have a registered address.
But is there a way around that?
Enterprise-sized companies might have the capital to maintain a physical office space while also branching into a remote work structure. But the dead weight of an office lease is a financial drain that could otherwise go to growth-focused business initiatives.
Is there a way around this regulation that requires businesses to have a registered address? And how can you shift your company over to a fully remote work office?
Today, we take a look at how to switch to a virtual office and shed unwanted overhead by using a virtual mailbox address.
The registered address conundrum
If your company is either a kabushiki kaisha (KK) or a godo kaisha (GK), your company's legally registered address must appear on your company's tokibo tohon (registry certificate).
This registered mailing address is used for business-related correspondence between the local government and your company, such as tax-related notices and communications from other government bureaus regarding compliance, updates on regulations, etc.
If your business faces investigative proceedings, this is the address the government will use to inform you of that.
Besides being a legal requirement, what other uses are there to a physical mailing address?
A physical mailing address presents an image of stability to consumers. Additionally, an address in an upscale location could improve your business's image. And not having one could put you at a disadvantage on various social media sites that require businesses to list a location.
For these reasons, having a physical address will still be necessary for some time yet, even as Japan's Suga administration inches toward moving procedures online.
The virtual office address solution
A virtual office address is a creative solution that could solve high office leases while staying within regulations.
What is it? It's a corporate address, exclusively yours, providing you with a mailing address to receive local government missives, giving you the perks of a physical address but none of the high fees. You can use it on your tokibo tohon and other such forms.
This solution allows your business to remain compliant while keeping costs at a minimum.
TokyoMate Mail’s winning combination
Forward-looking businesses have begun to provide these virtual office address solutions and mail-handling services. Among them, TokyoMate Mail solves a glaring need that non-Japanese business owners face—Japanese to English translation of incoming correspondence.
Created by a largely non-Japanese team, TokyoMate Mail focuses on what the foreign entrepreneur needs to be successful in Japan: translation of your Japanese mail and subsequent handling of to-dos by bilingual staff.
Unique benefits of TokyoMate’s setup that will appeal to non-Japanese who are looking to shift to a virtual space include the following:
Mail is moved to the cloud for easy forwarding to your lawyer, accountant, etc.
Easily scan through your securely stored archive using text search.
Get help with non-English speaking organizations and bills paid on your behalf.
Integration with a bilingual virtual assistant service for smooth handovers.
All your mail stays under 24/7 surveillance and can be shredded at your request.
Upscale Tokyo address, located in Minato.
Once your mail is digitally converted, it’s encrypted with 256-bit technology.
A top-rated customer service team who are all fluent in English.
Steps to changing your company's registered address
Ready to begin your journey toward an entirely virtual office space and shed high office leases for good? To change the registered address on your company's incorporation documents, you will need to complete the following steps:
Hold a shareholder meeting, agreeing to an address change (necessary if your address is listed in your Articles of Incorporation).
Submit a move-in notification to the post office to have your mail delivered to your new address.
Notify the Legal Affairs Bureau of your company's address change.
Re-apply for your company's seal registration. (If you are moving outside the previous Legal Affairs Bureau's jurisdiction, you will need to re-apply for your company's seal registration.)
Notify address change to various governmental offices (insurance, pension, and employment bureaus).
The above list is a summarized version of the significant steps involved with changing your company's registered address and switching to a virtual office mailing address.
Keep in mind that applications must be submitted within a specific deadline for some of the steps. Also, some costs are associated with this address change, which may seem steep at first glance—but are nothing compared to the full tally of your yearly office lease.
To save you the paperwork headache, we recommend hiring a trusted bilingual legal office to handle filing this paperwork for you. Also, if you’re moving your mail to TokyoMate, we will help you with changing your address without additional cost!
Want to get started today?
A virtual mailbox address is your first step in achieving a fully remote office workspace. Let TokyoMate Mail help you complete your transition.
We provide a no-risk 30-day moneyback guarantee with each of our pricing plans—we're that confident you'll be smitten.
Book yourself a consultation. Or, if you know what your business needs, dive right in.