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Obtaining a Payment Institution license in Japan

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Obtaining a PI license in Japan in 2020

The main advantages of obtaining a payment system license in Japan:

  • One of the most highly developed countries in the world;
  • A stable economy and a high level of GDP;
  • A developed sector of online banking;
  • Transparency of business processes;
  • An enabling business environment.
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The provision of electronic payment services in accordance with the Payment Services Act 2010, requires obtaining of a payment institution license in Japan. It is the updated Law regulates prepaid payment instruments, which functionality is based on the:

  • Interaction with the payment system servers;
  • Conditions, according to which the company's internal instruments established; and
  • Provisions, according to which customers are refunded in case of termination of company's activities.

Further, in this article, we will consider the procedure for obtaining a PI license in Japan, the necessary documents and other important aspects of the licensing business process for the provision of electronic payment services.

Obtaining a payment institution license in Japan

The main authority overseeing the financial sector in Japan is the FSA, which is part of the Cabinet of Ministers. For advising purposes, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government, together with the FSA, has created a support service that provides recommendations to foreign companies entering the Japanese market. The process of obtaining a license for payment services in Japan, also begins with preliminary consultation.

There are 5 main steps for obtaining a payment system license:

  1. Preliminary consultation. At this stage, which takes about 3-4 months, the applicant consults with regulatory authorities on the maintenance of the business, how to organize and manage it. The candidate must provide a clear and functional scheme of his business and operations, including information on internal regulation, the number of officials, employees, etc. In practice, the applicant’s consultations with the regulatory bodies are held on an informal basis: regulators repeatedly comment in detail on the applicant’s actions until he is adequately provided with human resources, necessary funds (capital), and technologies (for the smooth operation of the system) to carry out regulated business. This process, as a rule, represents a substantive consideration of the application by regulators.
  2. Applying to the FSA for a PI license. After the application for obtaining a PI license in Japan has been repeatedly reviewed by the regulatory authorities, and if they have no comments left, the applicant can officially file it. To a large extent, approving an application is a formality.
  3. Consideration of the application. The FSA studies the documents submitted by the applicant for about 2 months.
  4. Registration. When application will be approved, the applicant company receives a license, and all relevant information is published in the public registry;
  5. Start of activity. The applicant starts the activity in accordance with his business plan.

As you can see, the process of obtaining a license for a payment system in Japan takes 5-6 months. However, if in the process you need to make any changes to the application, or submit additional documents, the whole process may take longer. It should be noted that all application documents must be prepared in Japanese, or at least include a translation into Japanese.

Read also:
Conditions for obtaining a license for electronic payment services

It is preferable that the applicant company would be a JSC (kabushiki kaisha) or a foreign legal entity with equivalent registration in its country and a physical office in Japan.

In accordance with FSA requirements, the company applying for obtaining a PI license must create the following:

  • A satisfactory organizational structure and appropriate systems for the provision of payment services;
  • Appropriate systems to ensure compliance with applicable laws and regulations, including the AML/CFT rules.

It must be emphasized that, in accordance with the guidelines issued by the FSA, the systems mentioned above include:

  • Internal control division;
  • Reliable compliance system; and
  • Stable IT and other operating systems.
Financial requirements for obtaining a PI License in Japan

The applicant must have sufficient material resources for the proper provision of services. Also, it should be noted, there are no specific standards for this requirement (for example, requirements for capital or net assets), this amount can vary from 0 to 100 million JPY (about 835 thousand EUR).


This material is published for informational purposes, and should not be construed by the reader as an instruction or legal advice. Please, note that the entire process of obtaining a payment service provider license in Japan is a rather complicated. It requires a responsible approach and support from experienced lawyers.

If you have any questions regarding licensing of payment systems, you can discuss them with IQD Consulting experts by receiving legal advice on financial services regulation in Japan.

Our specialists provide legal support services at all stages of PI licensing in Japan. We are ready to help you in preparing a business plan for a payment institution, assist in the collection of documents, and provide other, related legal services.

To find out more detailed information about the services of our company, please, fill out the feedback form or contact us right now to order legal advice on payment system licensing process in Japan.

  • The information outlined in the article is actual at the time of its publication.

  • Please refer to our specialists for checking possible solutions for your business.

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