Working in Japan

To work in Japan, you must have a visa status that allows you to do so. Broadly speaking, there are three classes of visas:

  1. Visas with no restrictions on employment (four types): Permanent resident, spouse or child of a Japanese resident, spouse or child of a permanent resident, long-term resident
  2. Visas that permit employment (18 types): Diplomat, official, professor, artist, religious activities, journalist, investor/business manager, legal/accounting services, medical services, researcher, teacher, engineer, specialist in humanities/international services, intra-company transferee, entertainer, skilled labor, skilled labor trainee, designated activities
  3. Visas that do not permit employment (five types): cultural activities, temporary visitor, international student, trainee, dependent

Note: Foreign residents with a student visa who have received permission from the local Immigration Bureau to engage in activities not permitted under the original visa status are able to work up to 28 hours per week provided certain conditions are met.

Public Employment Security Office (Hello Work)

Hello Work is an employment counseling/assistance institution with offices located throughout Japan. Some Hello Work offices have staff fluent in foreign languages. The Hello Work staff will ascertain if employment is allowable based on your visa and resident card and will not assist those not legally authorized to work.

Public Employment Security Office (Hello Work)

Tokyo Employment Service Center for Foreigners

This office offers job counseling and job placement as well as counseling regarding visa status to:
1) foreign students in Japan who wish to work and
2) persons with work visas in specialist or technical fields. It also collects job offers targeting foreign exchange students or graduates.
Note: English and Chinese translators are available, but if you require a translator, please confirm by phone in advance.

Tokyo Employment Service Center for Foreigners

Permission to engage in activities other than those permitted by original visa status

Foreign residents are allowed to engage in the sphere of activities prescribed by their visa status, but they must receive permission from the Immigration Bureau before engaging in activities prescribed under other visa statuses that involve receiving a salary or compensation. Foreign exchange students who apply for permission from the Immigration Bureau may be allowed to work to a prescribed degree, as long as the work does not interfere with their studies.

Immigration Bureau website

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Illegal residence/illegal employment

Overstaying one’s visa period is illegal and will result in deportation.
Illegal employment is the employment of illegal residents (those who enter Japan illegally or overstay their visas) or the employment of residents who do not have a visa permitting work (temporary visitors, exchange students, etc.).

Signing a job contract

In principle, Japan’s Labor Standards Act, Minimum Wages Act, Industrial Safety and Health Act and Industrial Accident Compensation Insurance Act protect all workers in Japan—regardless of nationality, sex or legality of immigration status. Employers are required to present the worker with the details of the major terms of employment in writing.
Based on the Labor Standards Act, when concluding a labor contract, the following points must be stated in writing:

  • Details regarding duration of the contract
  • Place of employment and details of the work to be engaged in
  • Details regarding start and end times of the work day, presence or absence of overtime work, break times, holidays and vacation periods, shift changes
  • Details regarding determination of wages, method of calculating and paying wages, ending date of wage period and date of paydays
  • Details regarding termination of employment
Immigration Bureau website

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Job-related counseling

The following organizations provide counseling regarding work conditions and worker’s compensation insurance:

Tokyo Metropolitan Labor
Consultation Center
Tokyo Labor Bureau
Address Tokyo Shigoto Center 9F,
3-10-3 Idabashi, Chiyoda-ku
1-2-1 Kudan-Minami,
Telephone 03-3265-6110 03-3512-1612
Hours English: Monday through Friday 2 to 4 p.m.
Chinese: Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday 2 to 4 p.m.
English: Monday, Wednesday, Friday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. (closed from 12 to 1 p.m.)
Chinese: Tuesday, Thursday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. (closed from 12 to 1 p.m.)

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