Find a Job in Japan

Assuming that you're interested in coming to Japan to work but haven't yet lined up a job, you need to know where to look. For teachers, the government's JET Program is handled by Japanese Embassies around the world and some companies, for example the NOVA or GEOS English conversation schools, do most or all of their recruiting overseas, but most people don't have a job lined up before they get here. The last few years has seen huge growth in recruitment on the Internet and there are countless sites with job listings. Some of the main sites with a focus on Japan are listed in the links section below.

Once in Japan, the most common and well-established source of job information is the Japan Times. Apart from the usual criteria - qualifications, experience, age and so on - your visa status may also be relevant to your employment chances. A lot of companies want to hire someone who already has a valid working visa or who for some other reason doesn't need to be sponsored by them. Strictly speaking, it is illegal to work while in Japan as a tourist or student but the law is often ignored and rarely enforced as long as you don't overstay your visa.

The Internet

There are several English-language sites offering job advertisements on the Internet. Most are free for job seekers and some don't even charge companies to place their ads. The Internet being what it is, the majority of jobs listed online are computer-related. The most common jobs seem to be for network engineers and programmers.

The Japan Times

The Monday edition of the Japan Times is the first place most foreigners check when looking for a job (occasionally, Monday is a so-called 'press holiday' and the classified ads are printed on Tuesday). The Help Wanted section of the classified ads usually runs to five or six pages and the majority of the ads are for foreigners. Usually somewhere around half are for English-teaching jobs and the rest are for anything from company president to bartender. The majority of jobs are in the Tokyo Metropolitan area and there is a separate section for other areas.

The newspaper costs 150 yen and is available at station kiosks throughout the country or by subscription. Other English language national newspapers, the Daily Yomiuri, Daily Mainichi and Asahi Evening News, also carry classified ads but usually only a handful at most (the Yomiuri now has a lot of job ads in Japanese). At 120 yen they are quite a bit cheaper if all you want is the news.

The following are examples of jobs advertised in recent editions:

  • Native English Speaker wanted by International banking group at Sumitomo Bank for translation, international publicity and executive correspondence. Japanese fluency and word-processing skills necessary. Please call Mr. Takashima at (03) xxxx-xxxx.
  • Experienced Medical Representatives needed for major international pharmaceutical company. Expanding growth in new pharmaceutical products. Attractive compensation. Call Mr. Ogawa, Oak Associates (03) xxxx-xxxx. Fax (03) xxxx-xxxx or e-mail
  • PCL Mindware KK. Opportunities for software professionals in: SYBASE, SQL Server, ORACLE, SAPR/3, ABAP/4, VB, C++, C, Perl, UNIX/NT Programming, Century, UNIX/NT Network administration. English ability is required. E/J desirable. Resume by e-mail to or fax to (03) xxxx-xxxx.
  • Experienced Japanese and native part-time instructors for business English classes at Y2,500 to Y4,000 per hour. Fax resume to (03) xxxx-xxxx PCG.
  • Nagoya, Saitama, Chiba, Osaka, Shikoku, Kyushu. Americans and Canadians! Experienced teachers wanted with university degree. Y250,000+ per month, 25 hours per week. Apartment, sponsorship. 5 weeks vacation. Also positions for Director, substitute teachers. ALS: Fax resume to (043) xxxx-xxxx. E-mail