Working in Japan
In this section: Visa Matters, Contracts, Learning More, Information for Americans with work-related issues
Japan is a fascinating place to live and work, as evidenced by the 40,000-some Americans who live, study and work in metro Tokyo alone. However, like any other venture, approaching a new job in Japan informed will make your experience easier and richer.
As you begin your research, please understand that the Embassy and our Consulates cannot assist you in locating work in Japan, nor do we maintain a list of jobs available locally. Relatively few Embassy and Consulate positions are filled locally.
Working in Japan without the proper visa is a crime, and will potentially subject you to a long period of detention by the Japanese Government followed by deportation and a possible life ban on returning to Japan. "Working" includes but is not limited to teaching English and editing English-language materials.
Please take a look at our information on visas for Americans traveling to Japan.
In some instances, particularly with smaller enterprises, we have found that contracts signed in the United States are often re-written or adjusted after arrival. Frequently the new terms are unsatisfactory to the employee. Therefore those coming to Japan to be employed should either have a return air ticket in his/her possession or sufficient funds immediately available to purchase a ticket for return to the United States, should the working conditions not be satisfactory.
The Embassy and Consulates do not keep records on individual companies and are unable to "check out" a place of employment on your behalf. You may wish, however, to talk by phone with current employees of a smaller business you hope to work with before signing a contract or making a commitment.
Please take a look at a set of online resources for Americans living in Japan, elsewhere on our web site.
Here are some other resources worth looking into:
- The American Chamber of Commerce in Japan has a publication entitled "Living in Japan" which gives valuable information and will be helpful to anyone interested in residing in Japan.
- The Japan Times, 4-5-4 Shibaura, Minato Ku, Tokyo 108, has several publications on Japan which will also be of interest to any person contemplating residence in Japan such as: "Now you live in Japan" a handbook of essential knowledge for resident aliens, published by Research Committee for Bi-Cultural Life in Japan; and Jean Pearce's "How to get things done in Japan" Volume 1 and 2.
- The Japan Times and other English-language newspapers also have classified sections where jobs are regularly advertised.
- Nihon Kajo Shuppan K.K., 3-16-6 Minami Nagasaki, Toshima Ku, Tokyo 170-91 publishes a booklet entitled "A Guide to Entry, Residence and Registration Procedures in Japan for Foreign Nationals". This booklet, prepared by the Japan Immigration Association, lists the types of visas available and related rules and requirements for acquiring status and maintaining residence in Japan.
- A search of any Internet portal for the terms "employment in Japan" will turn up many, many helpful links, including sites devoted to teaching English in Japan, IT jobs and many others.
In general, work-related issues are private matters. If you need information or help in dealing with an employment issue, the following organizations may be able to help.
The Tokyo Employment Service Center for Foreigners (TESCF)
The TESCF provides help-wanted information and employment consultation to foreigners and businesses in Japan. The TESCF can also answer questions regarding your visa in Japan and how your employment status will affect it. Through their website, you can link to Hello Work Offices, labor and immigration information services, and immigration bureaus. The TESCF website also provides links to offices in Osaka and other areas of Japan.
Tokyo Metropolitan Labor Consultation Center
Phone:03-3265-6110 (Iidabashi Office), 03-3495-6110 (Osaki Office), 042-321-6110 (Kokubunji Office)
The center, managed by the City of Tokyo, offers labor related advice and information.
The Houterasu is a nationwide legal support center which helps callers locate professional support in civil and criminal matters.
The General Union
The General Union is a Japanese labor union that is open to all nationalities. Please check their website for news updates and information.
Tokyo English Lifeline
The Tokyo English Life Line (TELL) is a free, anonymous telephone counseling service in English. You can call TELL 365 days a year from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. at 03-5774-0992. TELL also provides face-to-face counseling on a flexible-fee basis. To inquire about this service, call 03-3498-0231.
In addition, here is a link to a list of attorneys who speak English who may be able to assist you.
If you require financial assistance, you could request that your family wire funds through the U.S. Department of State here or purchase an e-ticket on your behalf.
Please feel free to contact American Citizen Services in Tokyo if you have further questions or concerns at 03-3224-5000 or by e-mail at TokyoACS@state.gov, or contact your closest Consulate or Consulate General directly. Click here for contact information. You may also visit our main Web page here.