5 July 2018
Japan: Market Profile
- Picture: Japan factsheet
- Graph: Japan real GDP and inflation
- Graph: Japan GDP by sector (2016)
- Graph: Japan unemployment rate
- Graph: Japan current account balance
- Graph: Japan merchandise trade
- Graph: Japan major export commodities (2016)
- Graph: Japan major export markets (2016)
- Graph: Japan major import commodities (2016)
- Graph: Japan major import markets (2016)
- Graph: Japan trade in services
- Graph: Japan FDI stock
- Graph: Japan FDI flow
- Graph: Japan short term political risk index
- Graph: Japan long term political risk index
- Graph: Japan short term economic risk index
- Graph: Japan long term economic risk index
- Graph: Japan vs global and regional averages
- Graph: Japan major export commodities to Hong Kong (2017)
- Graph: Japan major import commodities from Hong Kong (2017)
- Graph: Japan merchandise exports to Hong Kong
- Graph: Japan merchandise imports from Hong Kong
Japan is the world’s third largest economy, and its service sector contributes about 70% of the country’s GDP, with wholesale and retail trade, real estate services, and professional, scientific and technical activities as the major service pillars. Transport equipment, food and beverages are the major manufacturing industries of Japan. Since 2012, Japan’s government has adopted a “three arrows” strategy to reinvigorate the economy. The so-called “Abenomics” comprises expansionary monetary policy, flexible fiscal policy and structural reform. The 2020 Tokyo Olympics is considered the “fourth arrow” of Abenomics.
Source: World Bank, BMI
2. Major Economic/Political Events and Upcoming Elections
Parliament passes a landmark bill allowing Emperor Akihito to abdicate.
Japan's ruling LDP-Komeito coalition retained its two-thirds majority in the lower house elections held on October 22.
Source: BBC country profile – Timeline, BMI Political Risk Analysis
3. Major Economic Indicators
Note: (f) forecast
Source: IMF, World Bank
4. External Trade
4.1 Merchandise Trade
Source: WTO, World Bank WITS database
4.2 Trade in Services
5. Trade Policies
- Japan has been a WTO member since 1 January, 1995 and a member of GATT since 10 September, 1955. Japan's tariff schedule has five columns of applicable rates: General, WTO, Generalised System of Preferences (GSP), LDC and Temporary. Goods originating from Hong Kong are charged at WTO rates unless a lesser "Temporary" rate exists. Japan's GSP grants lower or duty-free rates to products imported from developing countries. However, Hong Kong fully graduated from Japan's GSP in February 2000.
- Most goods can be freely imported without import licences, except certain items covered by the Import Restriction System (e.g. chemical products and weapons). Most of Hong Kong’s exports to Japan, such as garments, toys, jewellery, housewares, watches, clocks and the majority of electronic items are not subject to import restrictions.
- In October 2015, the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement was concluded with Japan among the 12 signatory countries, covering some 40% of the global economy. However, the US notified its intent to not ratify the TPP in January 2017. Following the withdrawal of the US, the remaining eleven countries reached a broad agreement on the core elements of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) in November 2017, and a deal was signed in March 2018.
- As of March 2018, Japan had a total of 16 Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) in force or signed with the following countries/region: Singapore, Mexico, Malaysia, Chile, Thailand, Indonesia, Brunei, ASEAN, the Philippines, Switzerland, Vietnam, India, Peru, Australia, Mongolia, while the EPA with the EU has been concluded. Besides, agreements under negotiations are the EPAs with Canada, Colombia, Korea and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), and a trilateral Free Trade Agreement among Japan, China and Korea.
- The overall orientation of Japan's trade policies has remained broadly unchanged since its previous WTO review in 2015. Japan has several systems in place to expedite the release and clearance of goods, including an Authorized Economic Operator (AEO) programme; it has mutual recognition arrangements (MRAs) on AEO programmes with some of its trading partners.
- Japan makes relatively little use of trade contingency measures, although the number of anti-dumping measures implemented by Japan has increased (from 2 in 2014 to 6 in 2016). It applied neither countervailing nor safeguard measures during the review period. On 30 September, 2016, Japan initiated an anti-dumping investigation on highly polymerized polyethylene terephthalate from China.
- The Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) and the Nippon Export and Investment Insurance (NEXI) remain the official export credit agencies of Japan. Most of JBIC's lending activities are for overseas investment loans, which represents more than three quarters of the total operations in value. NEXI provides trade and investment insurance, including insurance products covering different aspects of trade risks as well as investment insurance for Japanese companies.
- As regards Japan's intellectual property rights framework, the main changes during the 2017 review period included: the implementation of stand-alone legislation on geographical indications for foods, beverages, and agricultural and marine products; the strengthening of the protection of trade secrets; and various amendments to the Patent Act, the Trademarks Act, the Design Act, and the Act on International Applications under the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT).
- Access to the medical profession in Japan is regulated through qualification and language requirements; there are a few bilateral agreements allowing easier access conditions. Nurse and care-worker examinations are accessible to foreigners; this regime is covered in some regional trade agreements.
- The services sector, a key component in Japan's economy, is broadly open to competition, except in selected areas such as certain broadcasting and medical services. The main changes during the review period in the regulatory framework for financial services included several amendments to the Banking Act. These amendments have partially relaxed requirements in respect of agency services and intermediary services for foreign banks, and, on the other hand, introduced a series of new and stricter rules regarding licensing standards, information obligations, maintenance of assets in Japan, and supervisory powers in case of bankruptcy or reorganization proceedings, essentially for prudential reasons.
Source: WTO – Trade Policy Review
6. Trade Agreements
Multinational Trade Agreements
- A Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement between Japan and the Republic of India was signed on 16 February, 2011.
- The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is a regional intergovernmental organization comprising ten Southeast Asian countries which promotes intergovernmental cooperation and facilitates economic, political, security, military, educational and socio-cultural integration amongst its members and other Asian countries, and globally. Since its formation on 8 August, 1967 by Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand, the organisation's membership has expanded to include Brunei, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam. The ASEAN–Japan Comprehensive Economic Partnership (AJCEP) came in effect as of 1 December, 2008 and enhances trade between the two areas.
- The Japan–Thailand Economic Partnership Agreement (JTEPA) is a free-trade agreement between Thailand and Japan. The agreement was a deal that would eliminate tariffs on more than 9% of bilateral trade within 10 years. It was signed on April 3, 2007 in Tokyo, Japan by the Prime Minister of Japan Shinzō Abe and the visiting Prime Minister of Thailand, Surayud Chulanont.
- The Japan–Australia Economic Partnership Agreement was concluded between Australia and Japan in November 2014 and took effect January 15, 2015. A number of concessions were secured for Australian agricultural exporters, while Australian tariffs on electronics, whitegoods and cars were to be lowered.
- Japan has held ongoing negotiations for a Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership free trade agreement since 2012 with several countries, including: Australia, ASEAN members, China, India, South Korea (Republic of Korea) and New Zealand. In addition to the above bilateral agreements, other EPAs or Free Trade Agreements are currently being negotiated with: Columbia, Japan-China-Republic of Korea (South Korea), and Turkey.
- EU-Japan: Japan is the EU’s second-biggest trading partner in Asia after China. EU exports to Japan are dominated by motor vehicles, machinery, pharmaceuticals, optical and medical instruments, and electrical machinery. In December 2017, the EU finalised negotiations for a trade agreement with Japan. The trade agreement with Japan will relax trade barriers and boost trade openness. After the legal verification and translation processes, the European Commission can then submit the agreement for the approval of the European Parliament and EU Member States. The agreement awaits ratification from all parties concerned.
- Japan is party to the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement. Following the withdrawal of the US from the original agreement, the remaining eleven countries reached a broad agreement on the core elements of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) in November 2017. The CPTPP, also known as TPP11 is a signed, but not-yet ratified, trade agreement between Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam. These countries represent 13.4% of the global GDP, making this the third largest trade agreement after the North American Free Trade Agreement and European Union.
Source: WTO Regional Trade Agreements database
7. Investment Policy
7.1 Foreign Direct Investment
7.2 Foreign Direct Investment Policy
- The Japanese government actively welcomes and solicits foreign investment, and has set ambitious goals for increasing inbound FDI. Despite Japan’s wealth, high level of development, and general acceptance of foreign investment, inbound FDI stocks as a share of GDP are the lowest in the OECD. Future changes in Japan’s investment climate are largely contingent on the success of structural reforms to the Japanese economy. Recent changes that aim to strengthen corporate governance and increase female labour force participation have the potential to improve Japan’s economic condition, but further reforms likely remain necessary to secure a return to robust economic growth.
- The Bank of Japan is at the forefront of the country's efforts to boost private consumption, through quantitative and qualitative monetary easing with a negative interest rate. On the fiscal front, a number of economic plans have been adopted with a view, inter alia, to improving the country's public finances including its debt position, and boosting the competitiveness of the economy through large-scale investments. Structural reforms including those aimed at encouraging labour force participation and improving Japan's corporate governance framework are also under way. In April 2014, the government established a new “FDI Promotion Council” comprised of government ministers and private sector advisors. On the fiscal policy front, the Japanese government announced in June 2016 to postpone the planned consumption tax increase from April 2017 to October 2019. During 2016-2017, a series of supplementary budgets were approved to provide various fiscal supports to the private sector, including grants for R&D schemes, aids for disaster recovery projects and accelerate infrastructure developments. To further develop inbound tourism and tap the potential of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, the parliament passed the bill to legalise casino gambling in Japan in December 2016.
- Japan’s legal and regulatory climate is highly supportive of investors in many respects. Courts are independent, sophisticated, and ostensibly provide equal treatment to foreign investors. The country’s regulatory system has improved its level of transparency and looks to develop new regulations in line with international norms. Capital markets are deep and broadly available to foreign investors. Japan maintains strong protections for intellectual property rights with generally robust enforcement. The country is home to world class corporations, research facilities and technologies. Nearly all foreign exchange transactions, including transfers of profits, dividends, royalties, repatriation of capital, and repayment of principal, are freely permitted.
- The Government of Japan explicitly promotes inward FDI and has established formal programs to attract it. Soon after taking office, the government of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced its intention to double Japan’s inward FDI stock to JPY35 trillion by 2020 and reiterated that commitment in its revised Japan Revitalization Strategy issued in August 2016. The Abe administration’s interest in attracting FDI is one component of the government’s strategy to reform and revitalize the Japanese economy, which continues to face the long-term challenges of low growth, an aging population, and a shrinking workforce.
- The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) and the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) are the lead agencies responsible for assisting foreign firms wishing to invest in Japan. METI and JETRO have together created a “one-stop shop” for foreign investors, providing a single Tokyo location—with language assistance—where those seeking to establish a company in Japan can process the necessary paperwork. JETRO operates six Invest Japan Business Support Centers (IBSCs) across Japan that provide consultation services on Japanese incorporation types, business registration, human resources, office establishment, and visa/residency issues.
- The Japanese Government established an “Investment Advisor Assignment System” in April 2016 in which a State Minister acts as an advisor to select foreign companies with “important” investments in Japan. The system aims to facilitate consultation between the Japanese Government and foreign firms. Of the nine companies selected to date, six are from the United States.
- While requirements vary according to the type of incorporation, a typical business must register with the Legal Affairs Bureau (Ministry of Justice), the Labour Standards Inspection Office (Ministry of Health, Labour, and Welfare), the Japan Pension Service, the district Public Employment Security Office, and the district tax bureau. In April 2015, JETRO opened a one-stop business support centre in Tokyo so that foreign companies can complete all necessary legal and administrative procedures in one location; however, this arrangement is not common throughout Japan. JETRO has announced its intent to develop a full online business registration system, but it was not operational as of March 2017.
- In the post-war period since 1945, the Japanese government has not expropriated any enterprises and the expropriation or nationalization of foreign investments in Japan is highly unlikely.
- As of March 2017, Japan had concluded bilateral investment treaties (BITs) with 29 countries: Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, Colombia, Egypt, Hong Kong SAR, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Kazakhstan, South Korea, Kuwait, Laos, Mongolia, Mozambique, Myanmar, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Sri Lanka, Turkey, Ukraine, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Vietnam, Oman, and Kenya. In addition, Japan has a trilateral investment agreement with China and South Korea. Japan also has 16 EPAs that include investment chapters (Singapore, ASEAN, Mexico, Malaysia, Philippines, Chile, Thailand, Brunei, Indonesia, Philippines, Switzerland, Vietnam, India, Peru, Australia and Mongolia) and has recently negotiated an EPA with the European Union that includes provisions related to investment. In 2016, Japan’s parliament ratified the Trans-Pacific Partnership, an agreement among 11 countries that includes an investment chapter, and in March 2018 signed its successor deal, which no longer includes the US.
- Foreign and domestic private enterprises have the right to establish and own business enterprises and engage in all forms of remunerative activity. Japan has gradually eliminated most formal restrictions governing FDI. One remaining restriction limits foreign ownership in Japan's former land-line monopoly telephone operator, Nippon Telegraph and Telephone (NTT), to 33%. Japan's Radio Law and separate Broadcasting Law also limit foreign investment in broadcasters to 20%, or 33% for broadcasters categorised as “facility-supplying”. Foreign ownership of Japanese companies invested in terrestrial broadcasters will be counted against these limits. These limits do not apply to communication satellite facility owners, program suppliers or cable television operators.
- Japan has no general restrictions on data storage. In September 2015, the Japanese Diet passed an amendment to the Personal Information Protection Act, seeking to “enhance the use of personal data for business purposes while protecting privacy”. The amendment created new rules for the protection of personal data including the transfer of personal data over the Internet, and established a third party authority similar to the EU’s Privacy Commissioner as regulator. On January 1, 2016, the Personal Information Protection Commission was established. The Commission issued its guidelines for businesses on the protection of personal data on November 30, 2016. The 2015 amendment to the Personal Information Protection Act will be fully enforced starting May 30, 2017.
- The Foreign Exchange and Foreign Trade Act governs investment in sectors deemed to have national security or economic stability implications. If a foreign investor wants to acquire over 10% of the shares of a listed company in certain designated sectors, it must provide prior notification and obtain approval from the Ministry of Finance and the ministry that regulates the specific industry. Designated sectors include agriculture, aerospace, forestry, petroleum, electric/gas/water utilities, telecommunications, and leather manufacturing.
Sources: The International Trade Administration (ITA), WTO - Trade Policy Review
7.3 Free Trade Zones and Investment Incentives
|Free Trade Zone/Incentive Programme||Main Incentives Available|
|The National Strategic Special Zones Advisory Council chaired by the Prime Minister has established a total of twelve National Strategic Special Zones (NSSZ) to implement selected deregulation measures intended to attract new investment and boost regional growth.||Under the NSSZ framework, designated regions request regulatory exceptions from the central government in support of specific strategic goals defined in each zone’s “master plan”, which focuses on a potential growth area such as labour, education, technology, agriculture, or healthcare. Any exceptions approved by the central government can be implemented by other NSSZs in addition to the requesting zone. Foreign- owned businesses receive equal treatment in the NSSZs; some measures aim specifically to ease customs and immigration restrictions for foreign investors, such as the “Startup Visa” adopted by the Fukuoka NSSZ.|
|Special Zone for Reconstruction||The Japanese government has also sought to encourage investment in the Tohoku (northeast) region which was devastated by the earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear “triple disaster” of March 11, 2011. Areas affected by the disaster have been included in a “Special Zone for Reconstruction” that features eased regulatory burdens, tax incentives, and financial support to encourage heightened participation in the region’s economic recovery.|
8. Taxation – 2017
- Value added tax: 8%
- Corporate income tax: 23%
Source: PwC Taxes at a Glance 2017
8.1 Business Taxes
|Type of Tax||Tax Rate and Base|
|Corporate Income Tax||23.4% investors must note that Local income taxes are also imposed. The resulting effective corporate income tax rate is approximately 31% |
(34% for corporations with stated capital of JPY100 million or less).
|Capital Gains Tax||23.4%|
|Withholding Tax: Dividends, Royalties||20%|
|Withholding Tax: Interest||15/20%|
|Consumption Tax||Rate until 30 September 2019-8%|
Rate beginning 1 October 2019-10%
|Local Corporate Tax; a National Tax, Imposed on standard corporate tax liability||Fiscal years beginning on or after 1 October 2014 through 31 March 2017-4.4%|
Fiscal years beginning on or after 1 April 2017-10.3%
9. Foreign Worker Requirements
9.1 Entry Requirements
Japan has entered into reciprocal visa exemption agreements with various jurisdictions, including regional peers. Before entering Japan, foreign nationals must obtain a visa corresponding to the purpose of their visit from a Japanese embassy or consulate abroad. Foreign nationals from countries that have entered into reciprocal visa exemption agreements are not required to obtain visas if they intend to stay in Japan for not more than a specified time period for the purpose of limited activities.
9.2 Work visas and self-employment
Foreign nationals accepting employment in Japan must obtain a work permit (visa) at a Japanese embassy or consulate. To obtain a work permit, foreign nationals must first apply for a Certificate of Eligibility (CoE) from the Japanese Immigration Authority. The CoE is issued by the Ministry of Justice in Japan. The CoE certifies that the holder has met the criteria established for a certain status of residence in Japan. It is possible for expatriates to be self-employed in Japan; however, it is very difficult. The expatriate must also obtain a CoE.
9.3 Skilled Workers
Highly Skilled Foreign Professionals may receive preferential immigration treatment based on a points-based system. Foreign nationals with a valid passport and residence card may now leave and return to Japan without holding a re-entry permit if the period of absence from Japan is less than one year. The period of stay for those with residential statuses is for a maximum of five years. The Japanese government has made additional changes to labour and immigration law to facilitate the entry of larger numbers of skilled foreign workers in selected sectors. For example, the Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition Law was revised in 2014 to improve the “Points System” for highly skilled foreign professionals, easing the requirements for residency. Special economic zones may permit foreign workers in certain categories, such as domestic employees.
9.4 Permanent Residence
The Minister of Justice may grant permanent residence only if a foreign national fulfills all of the following conditions, which are generally difficult to meet:
- The applicant has adequate moral standing.
- The applicant has sufficient assets or skills to be able to make an independent living.
- The applicant’s permanent residence is in accordance with the interests of Japan.
With regard to the third condition generally, the applicant is required to reside in Japan for 10 years or longer, with a few limited exceptions. In April 2017, new exceptions to the 10-year rule were enacted. According to the guidelines concerning permanent residence, if the applicant’s points calculated in accordance with a points-based system for Highly Skilled Foreign Professionals are 70 points or more, residing in Japan for three years suffices. In addition, if the applicant’s points are 80 points or more, residing in Japan for one year suffices. The points relate to various items, such as academic background, professional career, annual salary and research achievement.
Source: National sources, BMI
10.1 Sovereign Credit Ratings
|Rating (Outlook)||Rating Date|
|Standard & Poor's||A+ (positive)||16/09/2015|
Source: Moody's, Standard & Poor's, Fitch Ratings
10.2 Competitiveness and Efficiency Indicators
|Ease of Doing Business Index ||32/189||34/190||34/190|
|Ease of Paying Taxes Index||121/189||76/190||68/190|
|Logistics Performance Index ||12/160||N/A||N/A|
|Corruption Perception Index||20/176||20/180||N/A|
|IMD World Competitiveness||26/61||26/63||N/A|
Source: World Bank, IMD, Transparency International
10.3 BMI Risk Indices
|Economic Risk Index Rank||42/202|
|Short-Term Economic Risk Score||64.2||63.1||59.8|
|Long-Term Economic Risk Score||65.7||68.1||67.3|
|Political Risk Index Rank||17/202|
|Short-Term Political Risk Score||86.5||86.5||81.9|
|Long-Term Political Risk Score||88.1||87.3||87.3|
|Operational Risk Index Rank||15/202|
|Operational Risk Score||72||75.3||74.4|
Source: BMI Research
10.4 BMI Political and Economic Risk Indices
BMI Risk Summary - Q2 2018
Japan’s economic expansion will continue over the course of 2018, as the combination of accommodative monetary and fiscal policy will likely boost investment in the near-term at a time when corporate profits are at a high. Nonetheless, the long-term growth outlook remains dampened by the demographic challenges. The major risk to the Japanese economy comes from a rise in global bond yields, which could trigger a rapid sell off in the yen. This has the potential to lead to a sharp rise in domestic inflation, which we believe would undermine the BoJ's ability to keep borrowing costs low.
While the working-age population is projected to shrink at a slower pace over the next 10 years (an average of 0.7% per year) relative to the last decade (0.9%), the major demographic drag will come from the ageing population and impact that this will have on the country's savings rate. Japan's active population ratio will decline to 58.0% by 2027, from 60.6% at present and 69.7% in 1990. This is by far the lowest ratio in the developed world, and with such a high share of people consuming more than they are producing in retirement, the national savings rate will face considerable downward pressure, undermining investment.
Note: Higher score = Lower risk
Source: BMI Economic, Political Risk Indices, BMI Country Risk summaries
10.5 BMI Operational Risk Index
|Operational Risk||Labour Market Risk||Logistics Risk||Trade and Investment Risk||Crime and Security Risk|
|Developed States Average||72.9||63.3||75.8||70.9||81.5|
|Developed States Position (out of 27)||13||8||7||23||15|
|Developed States Average||72.9||63.3||75.8||70.9||81.5|
|Developed States Position (out of 27)||13||8||7||23||15|
|Global Position (Out of 201)||15||11||7||46||18|
Note: 100 = Lowest risk, 0 = Highest risk
Source: BMI Operational Risk Index
|Country||Operational Risk ||Labour Market Risk||Logistics Risk||Trade and Investment Risk||Crime and Security Risk |
|Isle of Man||64.8||62.0||53.9||61.8||81.3|
|Developed Markets Average||72.9||63.3||75.8||70.9||81.6|
|Global Markets Averages||49.8||49.8||49.3||50.0||49.9|
Note: Higher score = Lower risk
Source: BMI Operational Risk Index
11. Hong Kong Connection
11.1 Hong Kong’s Trade with Japan
|Year||Growth rate (%) |
|Number of Japanese residents visiting Hong Kong||1,230,010 (2017)||12.6|
|Number of Japanese residents in Hong Kong||14,406 (2016)||N/A|
Source: Hong Kong Tourism Board, Hong Kong Immigration Department
|2016||Growth rate (%) |
|Number of Asian residents visiting Hong Kong||52,662,312||-5.0|
|Number of Asian residents in Hong Kong||2,784,870||N/A|
11.2 Commercial Presence in Hong Kong
|2016||Growth rate (%) |
|Number of Japanese companies in Hong Kong||1,378||0.3|
|- Regional headquarters||233||-2.5|
|- Regional offices||428||1.9|
|- Local offices||717||0.0|
11.3 Treaties and Agreements between Hong Kong and Japan
A taxpayer may elect to deduct foreign tax from taxable income under certain conditions. If a nonresident is resident in a country with which Japan has entered into a tax treaty, income may be either exempt from tax or subject to a lower tax rate. Japan has entered into double tax treaties with both China and Hong Kong SAR. These treaties reduce the tax rates on Japanese-source interest, dividends, royalties and similar income, and also provide relief from double taxation through tax credits.
11.4 Chamber of Commerce (or Related Organisations) in Hong Kong
The Hong Kong Japanese Chamber of Commerce & Industry
Address: Unit 902, 9/F, Tower 535, 535 Jaffe Road, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong
Tel: (852) 2577 6129
Source: Directory of Hong Kong Trade and Industrial Organisations, Hong Kong Trade and Industry Department
Japanese Consulate in Hong Kong
Address: 46-47/F, One Exchange Square, Central, Hong Kong
Hours of Business: 9:15 a.m. - 12:00 p.m., 1:30 p.m. - 4:45 p.m.
Honorary Consul: Kuninori Matsuda, Consul General
Tel: (852) 2868 0156
Fax: (852) 2522 1184
Source: Hong Kong Protocol Division of Government Secretariat
11.5 Visa Requirements for Hong Kong Residents
Holders of a valid HKSAR passport enjoy visa-free access to enter Japan for the purpose of short-term visits of up to 90 days. This exemption does not apply when the visit is for purposes other than a short term visit, such as seeking employment or exercising a profession or other occupation. However, visa fees for these kinds of visits where a visa is required will be waived.
Source: Visa on Demand