In the coming years, a skilled labor shortage is predicted for Japan due to the country’s aging population.Despite this labor crisis, neither the Japanese government nor Japanese companies are planning to hire foreigners en masse.
Japan’s plan is to invest heavily in robotics and offshore manufacturing and white collar jobs.
However, in terms of job opportunities, if you have a personal interest in working in Japan, it is often possible.
The following careers hold the most promise for foreign job seekers in Japan ♡
Many Japanese companies are open to hiring foreign engineers.There are a great number of engineering jobs in Japan.
★ English Teacher
English teaching is the best known path to working in Japan. When you tell people you work in Japan, they inevitably ask “you’re an English teacher?”.
English teaching jobs are available in all of Japan’s 47 prefectures. It’s possible to live virtually anywhere in Japan and teach English (most other jobs for foreign workers are located in Tokyo).
But, conditions for English teachers in Japan remain difficult today.However, English teachers seldom regret the decision to work in Japan. Even if they don’t walk away with big money — it’s a great experience.
☆ Information Technology
Japanese companies haven’t been quick to offshore IT to India. Most IT shops have hired at least a few foreigners in the local market.
★ Investment Banking
Foreign investment banks tend to hire large numbers of foreign workers. In the Tokyo market, these investment banks have a history of hiring large numbers of workers. Pay for IT workers is far higher in the investment banking industry as compared with industries such as manufacturing.
Competition for these jobs is intense but Japanese language skills are often not required.
☆ Office Work
If you have a valid visa and acceptable Japanese language skills — any white collar job is a possibility.
★ Research and Professorships
Japan ranks 3rd in the world for research and development spending (144 billion dollars per year). Japan is always willing to hire researchers who reach the top of their field. In certain areas, such as robot research, Japan is the top destination for researchers. Professorships (especially short term contracts) are also possible in Japan.
The occasional business-to-business sales position pops up in Japan that requires a foreign sales person. These are usually Japanese companies that want to sell to foreign companies in Japan (e.g. investment banks).
There are some foreigners in Japan working at fast food restaurants or teaching snowboarding classes — any job you can imagine.
Visas and language are the two obstacles to securing a job in Japan. If you have these, any job is possible. However, the service industry requires keigo (formal polite Japanese).
Japan is ranked 20th of all countries by the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business Index. Starting a small business is extremely tough — it’s doubly tough in a foreign country.
Nevertheless, some foreign entrepreneurs have been successful in Japan. If you want, just try it!
If you can act and speak Japanese it’s not that difficult to get small parts in Japanese television and films. There aren’t many foreign actresses and actors who become stars in Japan. However, it does happen.
Japan is one of the largest countries in the world and has it all. It’s clean. It’s safe. It is very rich in culture and art. These are some of the reasons why so many wish to move to Japan. The cost of living in Japan is high, though.
Even if you don’t speak Japanese, job searching in Japan isn’t as daunting a task as you might think.
The following websites will help you in your journey toward gainful employment in the “Land of the Rising Sun.”
Job searching websites
Let’s face it. The easiest job for English speakers to find and obtain in Japan is that of English teacher. Many schools hire English speakers. This is a job website specifically for those who teach or wish to teach English in Japan.
★ Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) Program
JET Program has been sending foreigners to Japanese public schools for over 20 years. This program may the best way to go about teaching English in Japan.
This website is a cornucopia of useful information ranging from banking and taxes to raising a family. Most companies listed require that you live in Japan before applying, but if you are searching for a job in Japan from overseas, this is the place to go.
★ Metropolis; Kansai Scene; Japanzine
The above websites are grouped together because they are all so similar. These websites are the online presence of three major English-language magazines in Japan.
Metropolis is based in Tokyo; the Kansai Scene covers the Osaka/Kobe/Kyoto area; Japanzine lords over Nagoya. The website for each magazine offers an employment section where you can scan for jobs in that part of the country.
A huge number of jobs in Japan are teaching jobs. However, “Daijob.com” lists thousands of jobs ranging from accounting to investment banking. The site is heavy on information technology and finance jobs in particular. You can search by job, by employer, and even by recruiter.
(Please note that most of the jobs on this site require a high level of Japanese language ability)
In addition to the usual suspects of teaching and IT jobs, this site also provides some more entertaining options. Check out the “Model, Act, Entertain” section if you’ve always dreamed of getting your foreign face on TV or in print. There are also a number of listings calling for hostesses.
Tokyo Connections acts as a one-stop shop for other Japanese job sites. It provides links to websites where jobs are available along with a review of each.
☆ Tokyo Employment Service Center for Foreigners
The website for contains a wealth of job-related information. There you will find info on who is allowed to work in Japan, labor laws, insurance, and where to take free Japanese classes. The center has locations in Tokyo and Osaka. If you are living in Japan while job hunting, consider popping in for a consultation or to browse through their help-wanted ads.
A job posting site specializing in bi-lingual jobs available in Japan for those with Japanese language skills.
Whether you aspire to be an English teacher, an investment banker, or are just seeking a short-term gig, Japan is sure to have a job that suits you. The resources listed above will get you off and running in the right direction.
Good luck ☺️