Jobs in Japan

Jobs for foreigners who move to Japan tend to be either unskilled or highly specialised. The Japanese government does its best to ensure that natives get first dibs on any jobs. Unskilled work tends to be the jobs that the native don’t want to do such as manual labour and factory work. Skilled jobs are mostly for English teachers, international business people and technology experts. However, English-speakers are in demand – especially as language teachers – and are almost always able to find some kind of work. Foreigners who do not speak English or Japanese will find it nearly impossible to get a job, and in the business world Japanese skills are a must-have for every applicant.

The best way for foreigners to maximize their employability is to make them-selves as flexible as possible. Knowing English, learning Japanese and improving professional skills are good places to start.

A good first step into the Japanese job scene (if you don’t already work for an international business) is to consider taking up teaching English. If you don’t have a job in an international company or don’t fancy being an English teacher then it’s a good idea to start looking for a job in Japan long before you leave your home country.  This way you can apply for a work visa before leaving your home country, and you will not have to change visas in Japan.

The Japanese have a reputation for being some of the hardest working people in the world. It is not unusual for Japanese workers to do 60 hour weeks. This dedication to work even has its own name, karo-shi, which literally means death from overworking.  There have been instances where Japanese workers have dropped dead from sheer exhaustion. Fortunately, instances of karo-shi are rare, and as foreign workers are usually not pressured to log the same amount of hours as their Japanese counterparts, they should have nothing to fear.

Job portals

There are a number of useful websites to help potential expats find work in Japan; here are just a few of them:

Newspapers are also a good source for international job listings. While publications offer a broader range of listings for numerous countries, it can´t hurt to take a look to see what sort of positions are in demand on the international market. A good source is the Japan Times.