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Peruvian immigrant to Japan finds startup spark in own frustrations

Albert Okamura's One Visa helps newcomers cope with bureaucracy

One Visa CEO Albert Okamura had his first encounter with Japan's immigration red tape when he was in third grade.

TOKYO -- A Japanese startup is helping immigrants and their employers navigate the country's labyrinthine bureaucracy. The company's founder is uniquely qualified for the task: After all, he has been feeling his way through the same maze for much of his life.

Albert Okamura was born in Peru to a Japanese father and Peruvian mother. The family moved to Osaka when he was 8, tossing the boy into an unfamiliar and often daunting environment. "I couldn't speak Japanese at all," recalled Okamura, now 26. To catch up with the language, he studied intensively at a special school alongside Korean and Filipino peers. Though he said he was bullied, he "never wanted to go back to Peru."

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