Survey on Foreign Managers in Japan: Situational Overview Upon Assuming Management Roles

【Koshida Accounting Firm Column Date:

Hi, my name is Taisei Koshida, and I am a certified public accountant and tax accountant.


I aim to assist non-Japanese business owners who need help with reading or writing in Japanese. If you find the Japanese tax return system challenging, I can help you with your tax filings.


This blog may help if you are unclear about situational overview upon assuming management roles.





Regarding foreign managers in Japan, I will provide an overview based on the 2021 survey by the Japan Finance Corporation.


 The pathways to becoming managers and their ages

About 83% started their own businesses, while approximately 17% took over from someone else. In terms of age when they assumed managerial roles, around 14% were under 29, 44% were between 30 to 39, 35% were between 40 to 49, 6% were between 50 to 59, and 1% were over 60.


Time Taken to Become Managers After Arriving in Japan

From the time of their arrival in Japan to becoming managers, about 9% became managers immediately, 14% within 1 to 4 years, 26% within 5 to 9 years, 23% within 10 to 14 years, 14% within 15 to 19 years, and 14% after 20 or more years. Few came to Japan with the sole purpose of becoming managers; many became managers after initially coming to Japan for employment or studies.


Reasons for Starting Businesses in Japan

When inquired about the reasons for starting businesses, about 44% cited the market appeal, about 29% mentioned the advantages in procuring goods and materials, and about 16% valued the ease of accessing business information. Many highlighted the business benefits of Japan. Conversely, a significant number had personal reasons such as a prolonged stay in Japan (40%), a desire to live in Japan (37%), and having family in Japan (23%). Additionally, 23% wanted to introduce their home country’s products to Japan, 15% saw unique business opportunities only available in Japan, and 7% wanted to assist people from their own country. The motivations for establishing businesses in Japan were diverse.



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