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Q_iconWhat documents are necessary if a Korean national were to become a shareholder of a Japan corporation?

A_iconA certificate of seal registration or a signature certificate is necessary.

★ Explanation ★

1. Documents needed to become a shareholder

A single copy of either a certificate of seal registration or a signature certificate would be asked for should an investor would become a shareholder of a stock company following its incorporation. In obtaining either certification, the required documents would vary depending on the registered country of residence. While there are no legal provisions in Japan the specify the validity period of seal registration or signature certificates issued outside Japan, there are cases where notarization is only accepted if it was issued within three months (similar to the seal registration certificate), so it is necessary to confirm with the notary office that would notarize the certificate of the articles of incorporations.

2. If the registered resident address is in Japan ⇒ A certificate of seal registration issued in Japan is needed

If the resident registration of the new shareholder is in Japan, then it is possible to obtain a certificate of seal registration from the municipal office he/she is under. In Japan, when moving out (to another municipality or ward), the current city or ward office must be notified within 14 days of moving out by submitting a Notice of Moving Out, and then notifying the municipal or ward office of the new area of residence with a Notice of Moving In. If these notifications have not been accomplished, one cannot be registered in a new residence. What’s more, if seal registration is not done with the municipal/ward office of the current registered residence (or new residence, if moving within Japan), no certificate of seal registration can be issued.

For Korean nationals who can obtain a residence certificate in Japan, resident registration is done, so the municipal/ward office where residence is registered at is also the same office where a certificate of seal registration can be obtained.

3. If the registered resident address is in Korea ⇒ ① Korean certificate of seal registration, ② a signature certificate issued by the Korean embassy in the country one is residing in

If a Korean national is not registered as a resident in Japan, he/she cannot obtain a certificate of seal registration in Japan; as such, he/she must obtain either a certificate of seal registration in Korea or a signature certificated issued by the Korean embassy in Japan instead.

  • ① If the concerned Korean national him/herself is a registered resident in Korea, it is possible for them to obtain a certificate of seal registration. Seal culture in Korea is quite similar to Japan, and seals are also impressed in Korea in place of signatures.
  • ② If the concerned Korean national him/herself is a registered resident in Korea but is living in a different country, they will need to obtain a signature certificate in the country they are residing in. A signature certificate issued by the Korean embassy in their current country they are residing in can be used. First, one much check whether the embassy is able to certify residence certificates, and then check the associated costs and necessary documentations for the signature certificate. If one cannot obtain a signature certificate in one’s country of stay, one will be required to obtain a certificate of seal registration at a notary office in Korea.