Used Goods Industry

While the phrase “used goods business” may conjure up images of flea markets and second hand shops, this in fact a much more diverse area than it may appear. Examples of activities which require a Used Goods Business Permit in Japan include: ・Selling used goods ・Purchasing and mending or otherwise augmenting used goods to be sold again (upcycling) ・Purchasing used goods and selling parts of them ・Purchasing used goods and charging money for their rental ・Purchasing used goods in Japan to be sold to overseas customers In order to carry out the above types of business, a Used Goods Business Permit is necessary. However, there are some cases in which you may find you do not need a permit. For example, selling used goods within Japan that were purchased overseas can be done without a permit. Contact us to find out more about whether your business needs a permit!

What are Used Goods?

In Japan’s used goods industry, used goods are defined as belonging to one of the following categories: ① Goods which have been used as little as once by another owner ② Goods which have not been used at all but have been previously traded with the intention of use ③ Any part of goods such as those described above Of goods that fit into one of the above criteria, used goods are treated as belonging to one of 13 different categories (clothing, automobiles, leather goods, photography equipment etc). Examples of goods which are not eligible to be traded in Japan’s used goods industry include: ・Airplanes, train carriages, boats weighing over 20 metric tons, other machines weighing over 5 metric tons ・Stone lanterns, garden stones, empty boxes/cans, metals, uncovered wires ・Stamps, JR Orange Cards and other items collected as a hobby (i.e. not used for their originally intended purpose)


In order to be eligible for a used goods industry permit, you must be able to demonstrate the following. N.B. These are general requirements and do not necessarily reflect the reality of what may be needed for your specific application.

Facility Requirements

You must be able to demonstrate adequate facilities from which to carry out your business. In practice, this means having a contract for facilities which you can show at the time of application. However, simply signing a contract for a workspace will not guarantee a success application, as you must demonstrate the intention to use the space as a base from which to run your business independently for the mid to long term. If you are selling used cars, you may also need to prove that you have storage space arranged depending on which part of Japan you are applying in. This space must generally be big enough for the storage of 2 to 4 cars at once. However, if you are running your business through an online shop, you may only need enough space for one car at once. This is just one example of how the requirements for business licenses can vary throughout Japan. Contact us to find out more about how your application may be affected by such regional differences.

Management Requirements

Each office or workplace must have a manager responsible for the safe and appropriate execution of business. This manager must not meet any of the exclusion criteria detailed below.

*Exclusion Criteria*

Applications will be rejected if the applicant or any managers or directors of a used goods business are: ・Persons with a record of imprisonment within the last 5 years or with a record of being fined for crimes specified in legislation relating to the used goods industry. ・Persons who have previously been disciplines for violation of used goods industry regulations. ・Underage, a ward, bankrupt or without a stable address. ・Persons who have had a used goods license withdrawn in the last 5 years. ・A public employee in Japan.
For any queries about Japan’s used goods industry or about how to establish your used goods business, please do not hesitate to contact us! *Please be aware that the contents of this site are naturally subject to change, meaning that we cannot guarantee their accuracy at the point of access. For up-to-date information, please contact us directly.*  

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