Secondhand Dealer License in Japan: A Comprehensive Guide

June 29, 2023

In Japan, the secondhand market thrives with a wide variety of goods available for sale. To ensure the legitimacy of these transactions and protect consumers’ interests, the Japanese government has established regulations and licensing requirements for secondhand dealers. In this blog post, we will delve into the details of the secondhand dealer license, why it is necessary, what it covers, the requirements, and where to apply.

What is a secondhand dealer license?

A secondhand dealer license, also known as “Kobutsusho Kyoka” in Japanese, is an official authorization granted by the government to individuals or businesses engaged in buying, selling, or brokering secondhand goods. It is a legal requirement to conduct such operations in Japan. In total, the license covers 13 areas of trade:

  • Bags, shoes
  • Bicycles and their parts
  • Books, magazines
  • Cameras, video cameras
  • Cars and their parts
  • Clothing
  • Gift certificates, tickets
  • Machinery
  • Motorcycles and their parts
  • Office supplies, personal computers, home appliances
  • Tools, furniture, musical instruments, software, CDs/DVDs
  • Watches, jewelry
  • Works of art

If you plan to sell a diverse range of items from various categories, you may need multiple licenses to cover all of them. Depending on your specific line of business, additional certificates may also be required.

How can I apply?

Applications should be submitted to the local police department where the business is located. While the application process adheres to the fundamental requirements outlined by the law, be aware that each local police station may have additional rules and regulations. It is highly recommended to visit the local police station in the intended location of the main office for an initial consultation and to gather the information necessary for preparing the application.

The core requirements include:

  • A proper residential status, such as permanent resident, spouse of the Japanese national, Japanese national, or business visa holder. Individuals that do not reside in Japan cannot apply for the license.
  • A designated business office with valid contract papers. The office space will be examined before the secondhand license is issued.
  • The appointment of an administrator (or “Kanrisha”) to oversee the daily business operations. This person can be a full-time employee and, in any case, needs to be a resident of Japan. If you establish several offices, you need to appoint an administrator for each location.
  • If you are operating a used car business, you will need a parking lot.
  • Compliance with any additional requirements specified by the local police station.

Furthermore, basic proficiency in the Japanese language is typically required for communication and documentation purposes.

Once you confirm that all the requirements are met, you can submit your application and provide all the required documents to the designated office. Note that this process must be done in person, and the documents cannot be submitted online or by mail. After that, the local government office will conduct an inspection to ensure compliance with the regulations. If everything is in order, they will grant you the secondhand dealer license. From the submission date of the application, the process usually takes around 40 working days.

If you are looking for a partner to assist you with obtaining the secondhand dealer license in Japan or simply require further information on this topic, we invite you to take advantage of our free consultations.

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