Media April 2013

News in Brief

Agency Issues New Visa Rules for Investors

The Immigration Bureau of Japan now requires proof of income and tax payment to extend or renew an Investor/Business Manager visa, according to a newsletter distributed on 8 March by QCIC Consulting K.K.

For the moment, said the firm’s president, Raymond Gasu, the authorities will accept an official commitment letter from the applicant’s representing firm, which must state that the applicant will be paid a certain amount on a monthly basis effective the month of application.

Proof is required if you have other means by which you can financially sustain yourself here. Although the application process might take slightly longer, its success will depend on the adequacy of your proof.

If you hold a working visa, it is quite difficult to renew it without proof of individual income, because your visa status requires you to work full time for your sponsoring organisation and earn a salary. Thus, proof of other sources of self-sustainability in Japan is not valid.

If you own and run a small business, you are required by law to hold an Investor/Business Manager visa, not a working visa. Further, as the owner and representative director of your firm, you cannot sponsor yourself.

Change your status while you still have a valid visa to avoid delays in the process. If you do not have Permanent Residence or Spouse visa status, you and your firm cannot sponsor a Working visa for another foreigner unless you have an Investor/Business Manager visa as the representative director of your firm.

The need to have ¥5mn in capital for an Investor/Business Manager visa has changed, possibly to get firms to inject more capital into their businesses.

Now, if two or more shareholders together contribute ¥5mn, at least one must have contributed ¥5mn before Immigration will approve Investor/Business Manager visa status for the firm’s representative director.

If you have applied for renewal/extension of your current visa and are awaiting your postcard, you may still travel outside Japan, provided you return within two months from the expiry date of your old visa.

However, you should obtain an application receipt in English from the Immigration Bureau and take it with you.

Index Reveals Kanto Residents, Women and Young Best at English

Japan ranked 22nd out of 54 countries in the Education First English Proficiency Index (EPI), according to a press release issued by Kreab Gavin Anderson K.K. on 21 February.

Japan received an EPI score of 55.14, below the OECD average of 58.58. Singapore and Malaysia had the highest scores in Asia, being in 12th and 13th positions, respectively.

The second edition of the index tapped data from 1.7mn adults in 54 countries who had used the firm’s free English tests from 2009 to 2011.

The findings for Japan showed that individuals from Tokyo and the wider Kanto region scored higher than those in other areas of the country.

The index also found that Japanese women scored slightly higher than men, while young people aged between 18 and 25 had the highest scores.

Buoys to Help Predict Quakes

A buoy designed and manufactured by a Hampshire-based firm is to be used by Tohoku University to help predict earthquakes off the Japanese coast, The News reported on 12 March.

ASV’s C-Stat 2 device is the first of its kind and can be controlled by line-of-site or satellite link, while an integral fuel tank allows it to operate for four days.

Estate Kids Get Look into World of Finance

Children from housing estates in the East End area of London have been given a behind-the-scenes look at a Japanese investment bank to show them what it might be like to work in finance, The Docklands & East London Advertiser reported on 20 March.

The 11 youngsters attended a workshop—organised by Tower Hamlets Homes through the East London Business Alliance—at Nomura bank.

The housing body is planning more guidance sessions for youngsters to prepare them for the working world.

Tokyo Firm Orders Midlands-made Wind Turbines

A Loughborough manufacturer is to supply wind turbines to Tokyo-based Zephyr Corporation, This is Leicestershire reported on 8 March.

Made by Evance Wind Turbines Ltd., the Zephyr 9000 is the only turbine manufactured outside the UK that has received certification in Japan.

The firm, which exports 20% of its products, said Japan could be a strong market after the government introduced the highest feed-in tariff in the world to encourage renewable energy and reduce the use of nuclear power and fossil fuels.

Osaka Welcomes Top Tartan Chippy

An award-winning fish and chip shop from Stonehaven is to take part in the annual British fair at Hankyu Hanshin Department Store. The bid to introduce the traditional dish to the Japanese market was reported by the Montrose Review on 12 March.

The Bay Fish and Chips won the No 1 UK Independent Takeaway prize at the National Fish and Chip Awards earlier this year. The Scottish takeaway was chosen following a visit to the shop by Japanese businessmen keen to introduce the fish and chip culture to their country.

The department store’s British Fair, which has been held since 1970, focuses on a number of things British, including tea, fashion and landscapes.

First Batch of Scottish Sake

A Scottish brewery is to start producing sake after its managing director became Scotland’s first certified sake professional, the Metro reported on 14 March.

Arran Brewery’s fermented rice drink, called Arran No 1, will be made from local water and rice imported from Japan and the US.

The first bottles of the drink will be produced by the end of the year.

The brewery already produces award-winning beer brands, including Arran Ale, Blond, Red Squirrel and Milestone.

David Bowie Café Had Two-week Stint in Ginza

The David Bowie Café opened in Tokyo for two weeks to promote the English musician’s new album, Japan Today reported on 8 March.

To mark the release of The Next Day—Bowie’s first album in 10 years—part of Ginza’s Sony Building was converted into a café from 9 to 24 March.

The restaurant served a selection of Bowie-inspired food and drinks, and was decorated with photos, portraits, album covers and books celebrating the singer’s career.

Fashion Label to Open Debut Shop in Roppongi

Issa London has chosen Tokyo to host its first shop, marking a new stage in the brand’s expansion, according to a press release issued on 22 March.

The label had great success after opening a pop-up shop in Ginza’s Isetan Mitsukoshi department store last year. Its debut standalone shop will be in the Roppongi Hills shopping centre.

Well-known fans of the brand include the Duchess of Cambridge.