Business Lesson 2 of 7: Business Legal Requirements

This is a part 2 of a 7 part series about how to start your own bar, restaurant, or nightclub business in Japan.

Lesson 2 of 7: Bar, Restaurant, Nightclub – Business Legal Requirements

During Lesson 2, I’ll cover the following topics:

  • Notification to the Public Health Center
  • Notification to the Fire Department
  • Notification to Tax Office
  • Notification to Labor Standards Supervision Office and Hello Work
  • Special Requirements for Bars/Night Clubs

Notification to the Public Health Center

You must take the following steps to clear your restaurant with the Public Health Center. Prior to beginning any construction work on your establishment, call or visit the designated public health center for consultation. It is advisable to prepare a floor plan of the entire establishment, including the kitchen and working/storage spaces. Officials in the center check if the facility meets their standards. At that time, you are provided a set of application forms.

The following all application forms must be submitted to the center 7 to 10 days before scheduled completion date of construction work, or by the preferred date of an inspection by the center officials. When submitting documents, ask about this date and the person who will be present on site for the inspection.

Necessary documents:

  • For an individual: Foreign Resident Registration Card
  • For a business: Copy of Corporate Registration and Registered Seal of Representative
  • Operating License Application. This will differ per location. Sample Minato ward Tokyo: See PDF here (if link is broken, you’ll need to search the site or email them directly) http://www.city.minato.tokyo.jp/kurasi/dl/kenko/eigyo/files/seikatsu_01.pdf
  • Description of facilities and equipment (floor plan, map surrounding your establishment) This will differ per location. Sample Minato ward Tokyo:  (if link is broken, you’ll need to search the site or email them directly) http://www.city.minato.tokyo.jp/kurasi/dl/kenko/eigyo/files/seikatsu_02.pdf
  • Test chart for water quality (if facility uses reservoir water or well water)
  • Certification of person who is in charge of food hygiene:
    — Licensed chef

    — Certified dietitian
    — Person who finishes designated training course given by municipal government.
  • In Tokyo, please refer to the following site for details about training course.
    http://www.toshoku.or.jp/frame00.html
    Tokyo Food Hygiene Association
    2-6-1 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo
    TEL : 03-3405-0775
  • Application fee (depends on municipality)

Inspection of the facility.

Based on the documents and floor plan you submitted, officials carry out the inspection of your facilities. If all the conditions are not met, you are required to undergo another inspection at a later date, after you have made corrections.

Operation permission is issued by the public health center within 3 to 7 days after the inspection. Please contact designated center when it is issued. Seals are needed to receive the final permission. Notification to the Fire Department

If the capacity of the restaurant is thirty or more including employees, you are required to notify the local fire department by submitting a “Notification of election of fire prevention supervisor”. The qualification for fire prevention supervisor can be obtained by taking a special training course for one to two days. Please ask for more detail from your area’s designated fire department.

Notification to Tax Office

The following notification must be provided by the business owner to local tax office within a certain period of time.

If you are starting up your business as an individual:

If you are starting up your business as a corporation:

If you are starting up your business as a corporation with capital of 10 million yen or more (within two months):

  • You must file a notification of business with consumption tax levy. 「消費税課税事業者届出書」
  • You can download this form here: http://www.nta.go.jp/tetsuzuki/shinsei/annai/shohi/pdf/1932_3.pdf
  • Note: These forms are written in Japanese. If you do not speak or read Japanese, find a trusted native resource to help you fill them out.

Notification to the Labor Standards Supervision Office and Hello Work

Of course you will need to hire workers to run your restaurant, including management help and servers. You are required to maintain workman’s accident compensation insurance as well as unemployment insurance. It is highly recommended that you consult with Labour Standards Supervision Office and Hello Work for specific instructions.

The following is the contact information of Labour Standards Supervision Office and Hello Work nationwide (Japanese language only):

Special Requirements for Bars/Night Clubs

In addition to the procedure for opening a restaurant, further permissions are needed from the local police department to open a restaurant, bar or night-club if it serves alcohol after 24:00. If you will be serving alcohol after midnight, you are required to submit the following documents and obtain licenses prior to seven days before the opening day, in accordance with the Entertainment Establishment Control Law.

Necessary Application forms:

Stay tuned for business lesson 3! (now live – Sample Business Plan)

Here are some books worth reading about opening a bar, restaurant, or nightclub.


Leave a Reply