Reasons Why Foreigners Consider Working in Japan

Reasons Why Foreigners Consider Working in Japan


It may be short-term compensation, long-term financial stability, or other personal reasons that many choose to live and work in Japan. We may have our own reasons; but if you need that final push to take that last step, here are things that you may want to know. 


Table of Contents

  1. The current status of jobs for foreigners in Japan
  2. Reasons Why People Choose Japan: Financial stability and Job Availability
  3. Other reasons for choosing to work in Japan
  4. Summary


The current status of jobs for foreigners in Japan


With its high population, Japan has created many diverse needs and employment opportunities for people to lead productive and fulfilled lives. In recent years, the government has launched labor reforms to allow foreigners to obtain work visas with more ease in the face of manpower shortage arising from the country’s aging population.


In October of 2019, a survey among foreign workers in Japan showed an increase of 13.6% from the previous year, totaling to approximately 1.66 million employed in Japan of different nationalities. The high percentage of the rise of multinationals residing in Japan must not be a mere fluke or accident. For example, the status of foreign residence in professional and technical fields has increased by almost 19% from the previous year. It must mean there are certain underlying reasons why the majority of foreign workers increased, and have, in fact, remained to stay along with new foreign nationals who have arrived to work in Japan. 


※ Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare, "Summary of notification status of “employment status of foreigners” (as of the end of October 2019)"


Reasons Why People Choose Japan: Financial stability and Job Availability

The primary reason is the compensation and opportunities that foreign workers obtain in Japan. Although Japan offers foreigners many choices of good-paying, blue-collar jobs, such as in the service, manufacturing, and construction industries, there are around 330,000 work-visa holders who work in technical and highly-specialized fields, for instance, engineering, international services, and humanities.  Such jobs provide them the privilege of receiving salaries which are either at par or higher than what their Japanese counterparts receive, as required by newly-instituted labor regulatory reforms. These skilled workers comprised about 19% of the foreign workforce in Japan in 2019.


※ Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare, "Summary of notification status of “employment status of foreigners” (as of the end of October 2019)"

The majority of foreigners, however, are employed in a variety of industries, which include the manufacturing sector, wholesale & retail services, service industries, hotel and food industry, and the education and learning sector. 


One other positive development in Japan worth mentioning is that part-time jobs have become abundant for those who want extra sources of income. Foreign students are especially suited for these part-time jobs, some of which can be done online in this day and age. Other foreign workers can take on additional part-time work aside from their regular full-time work, such as teaching English or other skills not native to Japan as such skills are highly valued in Japan, as long as their visa allows such work.


With so many good-paying jobs opening in Japan and many of which are available to interested foreigners, it is not surprising that the influx of foreign workers has increased rapidly in recent years. Although Japanese companies require intense and strict training before applicants can qualify, the advantages itself of undergoing training programs and acquiring new skills provide successful candidates satisfaction in their jobs as well as more opportunities to grow in their careers and positions. The recent moves to maintain better work-life balance among all employees in Japan, such as measures to cut down on overtime work, have also allowed workers to manage their work hours such that they can spend less time overall at the office.

Other reasons for choosing to work in Japan

Among foreign workers in Japan, personal reasons for choosing to work there vary according to each individual. Nevertheless, there are a few beneficial reasons that encourage foreigners to secure a job in Japan instead of staying in their own country or working somewhere else.


Japanese companies generally provide better incentives to employees, such as top-class and affordable healthcare services and benefits, pensions and monthly allowances, and even accommodation in some cases. Other than the bundle of benefits, perks, and financial benefits, healthcare is another reason. The healthcare in Japan is famous worldwide, available for all residents and working in the country makes it more accessible and more affordable.


※ Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare, Labour Standards Bureau, "Creating a healthy and comfortable working environment in which people are able to work with enthusiasm" 

Japanese work culture traditionally embraced lifetime employment, and though the idea is gradually fading, the deeply entrenched importance of job stability remains a priority for both companies and employees. On the part of the employees, it is still a must to observe the principle of kaizen (continuous improvement) as a personal goal and not just a company objective. But the great thing is, you don’t have to do it alone, as teamwork is highly valued in Japanese companies. For foreigners trying to get a handle on working in Japan or in the company can comfortably ask questions as the team is there to support each other to reach a common goal. 


As a corollary of the previous reason, Japanese companies seek to provide comprehensive and intense training to their workers in order to increase their efficiency at work, as well as to encourage them to stay in the company on a long-term basis. Aiming to become an excellent company and serving customers to their full satisfaction comes from having a workforce that is equally committed to providing consistently diligent and quality work. They may even sponsor your Japanese lessons.


Moreover, Japanese people possess the quality of acknowledging and rewarding employees who show their best-practices at work. This quality is often shown through extra expenses incurred by the company in terms of regular bonuses, overtime pay, corporate events or activities, and other company-sponsored perks. In this way also, overseas employees can truly feel as a part of the corporate family and to the Japanese community as a whole. In fact, working in Japan might just be the key for some unmarried workers to find their lifetime partner within the company. It is customary for some employers to grant celebratory money to employees who get married and have children.  


The sense of equality and camaraderie is apparent in most company offices where employees work in an environment where there is a balanced measure of openness among workers and great respect for superiors or managers. The absence of office walls in many Japanese companies or even the lack of defined space or distance between ordinary workers and top executives is also a feature of the Japanese corporate culture that may be foreign to some in the western context. Of course, the level of hierarchy is very evident in the way Japanese people address each other - but there is a sense of unity of all working in the very same space.


In conclusion, the compelling reasons given above all add up to create the favorable conditions that Japanese companies can offer foreign workers who decide to find a job in Japan. If you are one of those still undecided, some of these appealing reasons might just be what you are looking for to convince you to work within the unique norms and overall environment that Japan alone can offer. 

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