Q1. Are there any financial incentives / rebates for shooting in Tokyo?
Tokyo Metropolitan Government does not have in place a financial incentive / rebate system for shooting. However, there are some film commissions offering unique services which help the production to reduce the cost. Take a look at the Japan Film Commission's "Guide to Filming in Japan" for more information.
Q2. Do you need a VISA, work permit (or both) to film in Japan?
It depends on which country or region you are from. If you are from one of countries and regions with the visa exemption arrangement with Japan, also the period of stay is up to 90 days, there is no need to obtain a visa to enter Japan. If the person from other countries, and the period of stay is up to 90 days, a short-term visa is required. However, in both cases, if you receive compensation from Japanese entity for your work, and/or the period of stay is more than 90 days, a visa for work or long-term stays is required. For the application process of visa for both short-term and work or long-term, please check the website of Ministry Foreign Affairs of Japan.
As the necessary documents and procedures differ depending on the nationality and the purpose of stay of visa applicant, please check the website of Japanese Embassy or Consulate General of Japan nearest you for more information.
Q3. Does your country recognize an International Carnet for shipping?
Japan is a member of the ATA Carnet system.
International Chamber of Commerce (ICC):
If your country is not a member of the Carnet, go to the Japan Customs website to find temporary admission procedures.
Q4. Where can I find information about Japanese production companies?
You can find information about Japanese film industry on the website of UNIJAPAN. Its database JFDB offers contact details of production companies, etc. With the same database, you can also search for information about Japanese films, cast and crew.
Q5. Can I rent equipment such as cameras, lights and microphones, etc.?
You can find most equipment at rental companies in Tokyo. However, it is easier to rent through a Japanese production company or a coordinator if you hire one.
Q6. Do we need to pull a permit to film on streets? We won't be blocking or stopping traffic.
When you film on a road even if there are no traffic blockades, you need to obtain road use permits. For more information, please check “Filming on Roads”.
Q7. This is not a paid shoot, it is for my own use. Do I need permission or need to pay for shooting?
It depends on the scale of the shoot and other conditions. Please let us know the detail of your shoot using the inquiry form. We will give you advice.
Q8. What is the local VAT?
There is 5% value tax (consumption tax) in Japan as of 2013.
Q9. Is there a film lab in-country?
There are four film labs you can get 35mm motion picture developed in Tokyo. However, it is easier to work with them through a Japanese production company or a coordinator if you hire one.
TOKYO LABORATORY LTD.
http://www.tokyolab.co.jp/ (Japanese Only)
Toei Labo Tech Co., Ltd.
http://www.toeilab.co.jp/ (Japanese Only)
YOKOCINE D.I.A. INC.
http://www.yokocine.com/ (Japanese Only)
Q10. What unions are present there, and who do they cover?
There are professional associations organized by each function in an effort to improve their member's social position and professional skills. However, it is not that they serve in the same way as strong unions in the United States and other countries. In Japan, crew rates will be negotiated with the producer.