058 2018-12-15

Scammy Japanese companies

When I first came to Japan and decided to live here permantently, I had a lot of difficult things to figure out: how to setup a company, how to handle taxes, how to read anything, because it was all in a foreign language.

In 2012 I was introduced to a lawyer and accounting firm that charged nearly double the rate of a typical Japanese-only (Japanese language) company. Since I was just starting out, I opted to save my money and avoid paying the exhorbitant fees and go head-first with serious lost in translation issues. It was difficult, but quite fun and totally worth it from a financial and educational perspective.

Fast-forward to 2018, and the situation on my side is quite different. I’m much better versed in the Japanese language and able to communicate with various vendors on the topics that interest me.

The problem is, many companies still try to push their “foreigner tax” on us, just because their services are available in English. It’s a well-executed confidence trick, targeting foreigners specifically because they know we can’t handle things on our own.

I’d like to leave some advice to other foreigners wanting to do business in Japan:

  1. Fuck those companies and their discriminatory pricing. Fuck em all. Work with honest Japanese people instead. Not only will you get better service, but you’ll pay 2x less and you won’t be contributing to the livelihood of those scammers.
  2. Learn to read Japanese, at least the first 500 to 1000 jouyou kanji (常用漢字) will get you very far compared to knowing only a handful.
  3. For meetings with an accountant, law firm, or investors, bring a “Japanese Business Dictionary” and avoid Google Translate at all costs.
  4. Find a Japanese business partner (not girlfriend) to help with all the difficult stuff. If they’re good enough, you may even avoid paying accountants and lawyers for certain tasks.
  5. Remember, it’s fine to rely on people at times, but if you absolutely can not do anything on your own in Japan, without the help of translators, then you will constantly get screwed over. Liberate yourself, get that much-needed knowledge.

Contact me if you need introductions.

2018-12-15 03:07:16 UTC