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Q_iconIs it possible to establish a subsidiary company or branch office in Japan with a trade name in Romanized characters?

A_iconTrade names in Romanized characters are possible.

★ Explanation ★

The use of Roman alphabet in the registered trade names for a subsidiary company or branch office in Japan is possible, as stipulated in Article 50 of the Regulation on Commercial Registration.

Regulation on Commercial Registrations

(Codes Used for Registration of Trade Name)

Article 50 When making a registration of a trade name, codes such as Roman alphabet which are designated by the Minister of Justice may be used.
2 The designation referred to in the preceding paragraph must be made by public notice.

Source: Japanese Law Translation Database System
http://www.japaneselawtranslation.go.jp/law/detail/?id=3317&vm=04&re=02&new=1

Regarding the registration of a trade name, the Ministry of Justice have released an ordinance that sets what characters can be used. Besides existing Japanese characters (kanji, hiragana, katakana) and Roman alphabet, there are also other characters that can be used. (http://www.moj.go.jp/MINJI/minji44.html [Japanese only])

Characters that can be included in a registered trade name】

① Roman alphabet (A to Z, uppercase and lowercase letters)

② Arabic numerals (0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9)

③ The following characters:

a) & (ampersand)

b) ‘ (apostrophe)

c) , (comma)

d) ― (hyphen)

e) . (period)

f) ・ (interpunct)

(Note 1)

As long as several words are expressed in Roman alphabet, spaces can be used to separate the words from each other.

<Example of Acceptable Trade Names>

株式会社Apple Japan (Kabushiki-kaisha Apple Japan)

<Example of Not Acceptable Trade Names>

株式会社アップル ジャパン

(Reason: There is a space in between Japanese characters)

株式会社AB C

(Reason: The space is not in between words)

(Note 2)

The characters in ③ are only acceptable as part of registered trade names if they are used to punctuate or separate words and phrases (including Japanese characters). As such, they cannot be used in the beginning or the end of the trade name (excluding the part that indicates the company type).

However, in the case of the “.” (period), if used to indicate that the preceding Roman character is an abbreviation, it can be used at the end of the trade name (excluding the part that indicates company type).

<Example of Acceptable Trade Names>

株式会社A&B

株式会社A’B’C

株式会社A,B,C

株式会社A-B-C

株式会社A・B・C

株式会社A.B.C

<Example of Not Acceptable Trade Names>

株式会社A&

(Reason: “&” (ampersand) cannot be used in the beginning or the end of the trade name (excluding the part that indicates the company type))

株式会社’ AB

(Reason: “’” (apostrophe) cannot be used in the beginning or the end of the trade name (excluding the part that indicates the company type))

株式会社ABC,.

(Reason: The characters used are not used as punctuation between two words or phrases)

株式会社-

(Reason: The “―” (hyphen) used does not act as punctuation between two words or phrases)

(Note 3)

Trade names such as “ABC日本株式会社” (ABC Nihon Kabushiki-kaisha) and “株式会社Apple Japan東京” (Kabushiki-kaisha Apple Japan Tokyo) where Japanese characters and Roman characters are both used are allowed to be registered.

Furthermore, trade names consisting of numbers only (excluding the part that indicates the company type), such as “111株式会社” (111 Kabushiki-kaisha) can also be registered.