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Buying a share of a brewery in Japan? 2022/5/10 15:02
A family member and I are considering buying into a small business brewery (sake or soy sauce) in Japan as an investment and hopefully also open doors to emigrate via self sponsorship or sponsorship by the company we buy into. Said business partner (immediate family member) is 60 and a homemaker, while I am 30 and work in healthcare. I am aware that I am changing careers, though if it does not work out I can return to my home country (Australia) any time with minimal setbacks to my career besides time, since I am essentially my own boss.

We are willing to invest about 20-30 million yen in savings combined into said business, and can afford to lose that money as I have other investments as well.
A bit of background, it is very common in Australia for people who have a bit of extra money they could afford to lose to buy a vineyard or brewery, or a portion of it, both as an investment and also as a hobby.

I am quite passionate about traditional Japan and would relish the opportunity to own say a 20-30% stake in a brewery in Japan (either sake or soy sauce, miso etc - the kind of brewery doesn't really matter). Buying a minority stake in an already stable small business seems a lot easier than starting one from scratch, especially as a foreigner. I hope to then market the product back home and internationally, as authentic "made in Japan" traditional products are quite popular here and getting increasingly so. Besides being an investor (essentially a small time venture capitalist), I am hoping our role at the company will be to provide English speaking expertise to help it grow into the global market and tap into the tourism market. Ideas besides contacting suppliers in my home country include running an online store and perhaps English-language and Mandarin-language (said partner is Chinese) brewery tours.

I hope to have JLPT N3 by the time we execute this plan.
My business partner unfortunately has no official qualifications for Japanese language, but speaks a little Japanese.
We are united by our love for Japan, especially the "traditional" side of things, and would appreciate any advice as to how to make this work.
by Brewery Enthusiast (guest)  

Re: Buying a share of a brewery in Japan? 2022/5/10 18:38
In order to make this kind of venture more easily doable, assuming you want to play a truly active role in the day to day running of a company in Japan, I recommend aiming for the absolute highest level of Japanese that you can possibly reach.

Last time I checked (years ago, admittedly) anything below N1 or at least N2 was useless for immigration purposes, and an N3 certificate may not do anything to convince potential partners to go into business with you either since frankly, most Japanese people do not even know what the JLPT is.

At the same time JLPT levels do not tend to correspond well with actual communicative ability since one could technically pass N1 without being able to speak a lick of Japanese. The opposite is also true: a genuinely excellent communicator in Japanese who just happens to be bad at taking the very specific type of test that the JLPT is could easily fail N3.

That said generally speaking when I think of the average N3 test-taker, I think of someone who can basically hold their own to a certain degree in a fair number (but by no means all) of social situations, but would probably be quite useless in many professional situations. Perhaps they could survive working at a convenience store or something? But for any kind of management role they would need excellent speaking and reading skills, and they would have some command over business Japanese too. And I think that is what you should be aiming to acquire as well, certainly as a higher priority than what can basically be considered a lower intermediate certificate in general Japanese.
by LIZ (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Buying a share of a brewery in Japan? 2022/5/10 20:38
It sounds like a big project, starting with the task first to find a brewery interested in having their products marketed in Australia/other countries, is open to ideas from outside investors (as against those who have been in the business for many years), and is willing to give you a role in the business (if you are considering as far as emigrating to Japan based on their sponsorship, which i doubt would be possible, youfd want to probe for that possibility upfront as you approach a potential business).

You would need to come to Japan in person, visit as many breweries as you can, eventually select a few or one and try to build relationships with them - which can take quite some time, to learn about the business and individual companiesf objectives. Also there would be the need to familiarize yourselves with the export requirements/practices or any food regulations that might apply to products that get shipped from Japan to other markets (and preferences in certain markets - you know that big soy sauce manufacturers need to consider halal requirements or flavor differences, etc. for different markets around the world).

About the language: N3 is nowhere near gworking levelh Japanese language proficiency, so youfd need some local help constantly, otherwise you would not be able to have serious discussions about business matters.
by AK rate this post as useful

Re: Buying a share of a brewery in Japan? 2022/5/11 10:51
A bit of background, it is very common in Australia for people who have a bit of extra money they could afford to lose to buy a vineyard or brewery, or a portion of it, both as an investment and also as a hobby.

As an Australian, I dont believe it is very common you have a few hundred thousand dollars that is expendable.

Anyways, I say go for it. If you have the financial means to invest those types of money into a business. I'm am sure an expanding business isn't gonna knock back your investment doaalrs.
by H (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Buying a share of a brewery in Japan? 2022/5/11 12:50
Thanks for the replies.
About my Japanese level, I am aware I will need to continue working on it.
While I understand it is not good enough for high level conversations, I am aiming for a small business with less than 10 employees. Not that my budget of 20-30mil yen will allow anything more than that.
While I have plans to bring my services to the table as well, mainly in providing English language services and some knowledge in creating and maintaining a website, the main gist of my proposal will be providing a financial investment.
And yes I understand I will need to be upfront about the sponsorship.

Essentially I am offering a relatively large sum of money to buy a part of the business in exchange for a job and assistance with emigration (through said job).
I don't think any brewery will employ an "outsider" just to do the above, but they may be quite keen for the injection of cash to grow the business. Obviously the amount I offer will need to be generous. For example if the business is worth an estimated 80mil yen, I will be offering 25mil yen for a 20% stake. We just got to accept that as the cost of doing business and getting them to accept the risk of taking on an "outsider".
My role does not need very good Japanese language skills, at least not at first, though it is something I hope to improve anyway. My role involves maintaining the English-language website, potentially tours in English and trying to gain international export partnerships with the Asian grocers and their suppliers where I currently live, where negotiations will be in English and Mandarin.
by Brewery Enthusiast (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Buying a share of a brewery in Japan? 2022/5/11 22:17
To me it seems that youfd need some good introduction and referral from someone in the industry, and then some extensive efforts at relationship-building, before you can get to the actual transaction. And that initial search for the right business to invest in would take quite a lot of efforts (and language skills too). Best wishes.
by AK rate this post as useful

Re: Buying a share of a brewery in Japan? 2022/5/12 00:05
Doesn't this fall under the 'just because you own property in Japan, you don't have a right to live there' shpeal? You can be a partner in a brewery, but does that give you the right to emigrate there? Maybe if you owned the majority of the business, but it seems this is not the case?
by . (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Buying a share of a brewery in Japan? 2022/5/12 05:21
I just think your expectations of being able to do this without a high level of command over the language are a little off the mark. You certainly could maintain an English language web presence and conduct tours without knowing any Japanese at all, but owning a controlling stake in a business on the smaller side of things is, realistically, going to be more than that.

You could probably get away with it if you were buying a piece of a huge corp like Panasonic or DMM, but in the case of an 80m yen company I think itfs fair to say that most probably arenft going to be able to accommodate someone who canft really use the language that well. Maybe it is the case that you are overestimating what an 80m yen brewery looks like? I donft know. Just trying to be realistic. Unless you really donft actually want to take an active role in the direction of the company? In which case I donft see much incentive for the company to even want to get you into the country in the first place. I get that you could do guided tours for them but at an 80m yen business is unlikely to be anything close to a full-time role.
by LIZ (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Buying a share of a brewery in Japan? 2022/5/15 18:04
30,000,000yen really isn't anything in a place that tourists visit. It's an old 2 bedroom apartment on outskirts of city at best.

In the middle of nowhere, even that amount is not much more than a run down house.

I feel by how you write, you have no clue about Japan and the actual "traditions".
There are 100,000s of small businesses with an online presence for all sorts of traditional services/products. In Japanese, yes, but not a place anyone wants to visit really. Or, rather, they don't want visitors either.

You might just be jama to most of the people you are approaching, family included.

Your backdoor way around immigration is in concept, a possible route. In reality, you would not even be able to read or fill out the forms.

I get it. Your "sizable amount of money", to you, makes you feel this can happen. But, you need a sizable amount of reality to go with it. If you came to my business and asked me for paid advice, this is what I would tell you.

A better idea is to go exploring these places in reality. Place, setting, distance
From civilization, local attitude, etc. I think you have serious rose colored glasses on. Assuming you are not trolling the forum in the first place. Until you can get a firm grasp of the two faces of Japan, and seriously understand the culture, which takes decades if you seriously put in the work and deep thought...don't be foolish with your limited time. Be smart and realistic.

Best of luck.
by SAkURa23ku rate this post as useful

Re: Buying a share of a brewery in Japan? 2022/5/26 02:46
Hi Ifve just invested into a brewery in Okinawa japan that makes Awamori, Ifm in the Japanese spirits space, the brewery just got a license to make Japanese spirits, such as whiskey and gin.
You can add me on whatfs app on +85261009142
by Vijay (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Buying a share of a brewery in Japan? 2022/5/27 08:18
Essentially I am offering a relatively large sum of money to buy a part of the business in exchange for a job
Yes, that looks exactly like what you are doing - buying a job and getting a work visa/SoR. The company would sponsor your position.
As for the comments about language - heavily dependent on the business you buy into and English language support from your professional advisors. Many people successfully work in Japan without knowing Japanese.
by JapanCustomTours rate this post as useful

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