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Moving to Japan, self employed...advice needed

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2 Mar 2017
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My wife has a job offer to teach at an international school in Japan. I'm a middle-aged, self-employed craftsman, making musical instruments. I've visited Japan several times and would be very happy to live and work there. We currently live and work in Germany. I am from the UK, my wife is from Singapore.

My business is a small business. I'm a sole trader. My work sells internationally and is not currently dependent upon selling in Japan. I've been in business for coming up to 30 years.

Can anyone point me in the right direction as to which visa I would apply for? My wife is being offered sponsorship, but what is my position? Would it be wiser or even possible for me to seek part-time employment before moving the workshop? When I do move the workshop, what might be my tax, health and pension obligations be on a business that turns over around 10,000,000 Yen a year with a profit of around half that?

The results of research I've done regarding self-employment in Japan seems to be more concerned with large business so any help would be appreciated.
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Just me
20 Aug 2003
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Initially, you might want to get a dependent visa with your wife as the guarantor. That makes you legal whether you work or not. If you want to work in Japan, you can then apply for special permission to do so with that visa, but it will be only for part-time hours. (#9 on this page)

If you want to do more hours and still earn money in Japan, you'll have to get a regular work visa. The type depends on which business you work for.
If you want to work for yourself and set up your own business here (with income earned in Japan), you should consider the Investor/Business manager visa.
If you want to work for yourself but not earn money from customers in Japan, I think you don't need any work visa. The dependent visa would keep you legally here, and that might be enough. Confirm that with immigration.

More information on types of visas can be found at the above link as well as here. In the top right corner menu box, select 英語 (English) and then 表示 (display) to read about the visas without the bilingual text). Or change the page to English with the "English" button, and then once again go to that menu box and choose English, followed by Display.
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