With my new visa in place, I can finally start working for my own company. In order to do this properly, I need a bank account for the company, a place to deposit my capital and my earnings and from which to pay my bills and salary.

I have received a rather extensive list of documents needed to open a company account, and I collected and copied them all on Monday. Yesterday in the early afternoon – hoping that it would be less crowded – I went to my branch of Kyoto Bank around the corner and thought I could open a new account right away.

a hamster running in a wheelHowever, no such luck… After securing the assistance of the only English-speaking clerk, we sat down and filled in a form: Company name and address, company representative name and address, my name and address, purpose of the account, purpose of the company’s business… etc. I also handed over the prepared documents and my Japanese ID card. When everything was in place the clerk told me that

“Screening will take up to two weeks.” What screening? Well, apparently, in the case of business accounts, it’s not the business choosing the bank, but the bank choosing the business. How they do this I cannot say, after all the required documents are minimal: The teikan incorporation papers – a single page stating business name, address, and initial capital as well as business purpose and representative members – a certificate of the registration of the company inkan – not older than 6 months – and a copy of my zairyu card – probably only because I am a foreigner. Because the clerk also wanted to know the main purpose of the 10 business purposes listed on the teikan, which is a bit difficult to explain, I gave him the (English) business plan I prepared for the Immigration Office. But that’s all of the documents from my big stack that Kyoto Bank wanted to have, and I seriously wonder what they are trying to read out of them; it is a brand new start-up business after all…

As I have never before owned a business account, I can only guess as to why there is a screening at all. Probably because there is bound to be more fluctuation on a business account than on a private one? Because it is easier to slip into the reds? Because the bank will feel more obliged to give a line of credit to a business than to a private person? As I said, I can only guess, and be patient. Again.

Sometimes I think the only thing that’s really needed in Japan is an unlimited amount of patience…