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カテゴリーのアイコン Work Life in Japan
My Personal Experience as a Full-Time Employee in Japan
Jan 26, 2024
4 min read
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The dream of many people in Western countries, including myself, is/was to move to Japan. The country's rich history, language, and culture, which developed in a unique and sometimes isolated manner (considering the 200 years when Japan was closed to foreign influence), create a fascinating and alluring atmosphere.

However, moving to Japan usually means finding employment to sustain oneself in this captivating yet capitalistic country. For me, working as a full-time employee in Japan has always seemed like the safest and least stressful way to live and work here. Today, I want to share my personal experience as a full-time foreign worker in Japan.

Why Choose Full-Time Work?

Several factors influenced my decision to seek full-time employment in Japan:

  1. Economic opportunities: Japan boasts one of the world's largest economies, offering a wide range of job prospects across various industries. Working full-time in Japan provides stability and a reliable income, contributing to personal financial growth.
  2. Career advancement: Japan is renowned for its strong work ethic and focus on skill development. Full-time work allows individuals to fully immerse themselves in their chosen profession, gain valuable experience, and pursue long-term career growth within their industry.
  3. Visa support: Obtaining a full-time job in Japan is often the only viable path to obtaining a working visa. In most cases, a company or organization in Japan must sponsor your work visa, initiate the application process and provide the necessary documentation to the appropriate Japanese immigration authorities.
  4. Access to benefits and social security: Full-time employees in Japan typically receive benefits such as health insurance, pension contributions, paid leave, and bonuses. These perks provide a sense of security and contribute to employees' overall well-being.

Applying for a Full-Time Job in Japan? Consider This!

When searching for a full-time job in Japan, I considered the following factors:

  1. International work environment: Working for a foreign or Japanese company with a solid international presence offers a multicultural work environment. It allows for exposure to colleagues from diverse backgrounds, providing a broader perspective and insight into different working styles. As someone who has lived and worked in Japan full-time for three years, I cannot stress enough the importance of finding a job in such an international setting.
  2. English proficiency: Some foreign companies use English as the primary language of communication, which can be advantageous for non-Japanese speakers. Despite my proficiency in Japanese, I find myself more comfortable in an English-friendly environment with foreign colleagues where I can express my thoughts and opinions in both languages.
  3. Global career prospects: Working for a foreign company in Japan can open up opportunities for international transfers or involvement in global projects, enhancing long-term career prospects.

It is crucial to conduct thorough research on the company and industry before applying for a job. Avoid "black kigyo" (black companies), known for excessively long working hours and illegal, unpaid overtime exceeding 40 hours.

Full-Time Employment in Japan: What Are the Downsides?

Working full-time in Japan has its downsides. The traditional culture of long working hours, intense work ethic, and limited work-life balance can increase stress. Language and cultural barriers, as well as limited career mobility for foreign employees, pose additional challenges. The workforce can be homogeneous, and diversity and inclusion initiatives are still developing. Company loyalty is highly valued, limiting flexibility for job changes. However, I think the situation has improved drastically in the last ten years, and the culture of overwork is slowly but steadily dying down for a better work-life balance and flexibility thanks to the introduction of remote work.

It's important to note that these challenges vary based on industries and individual circumstances and to evaluate the most important elements for you in your job and workplace, let it be the salary, the work-life balance, or advancement opportunities. Some individuals can navigate these obstacles, while others may struggle in the Japanese work environment.

Will I Keep Working Full-Time in Japan?

I am personally very satisfied with my experience as a full-time worker in Japan: some days are busier than others, but by working in an international company, I get the chance to be in contact with different cultures, working styles, and languages daily, in a supportive international environment, while being able to live in a country that I love.

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