Japan govt asks global tech giants to register overseas headquarters

Reuters file photo
A man stands in front of a Meta logo at the firm’s headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif., in October 2021.

The Japanese government has asked global tech giants, including Alphabet Inc.’s Google and Meta Platforms Inc., formerly known as Facebook, to register their overseas headquarters in Japan based on the Companies Law, according to sources.

In some cases, companies have registered their Japanese subsidiaries, but not their overseas headquarters. The government has concluded that this practice could violate the law.

The move aims to increase scrutiny of major tech companies and help protect their customers, the sources said.

The Justice Ministry and the Internal Affairs and Communications Ministry have jointly asked such companies to comply with the registration request, and will press for reasons if the companies do not comply.

Under the law, foreign companies that operate businesses in Japan are required to register their overseas headquarters. Upon registration, companies are obliged to release a public notice of their settlement of accounts, among other requirements.

However, the penalty for failing to register is only around ¥1 million. In light of this figure, some government officials reportedly believe that certain firms have intentionally refrained from registering.