Living in Japan

Before you decide to move to Japan, read as much as you can about this country. Talk to other foreigners who live in Japan and visit expat forums. Other people’s experience will be useful, but it will be much better to visit the country and stay there for a while, before you move permanently.

Foreigners in Japan: Rights and Obligations

According to the Constitution of Japan, all people living in Japan are treated equitably. All residents have to pay taxes (regardless of their nationality). These taxes include sales taxes, income taxes, residence taxes, etc.

To live in Japan, you have to get a residence status. Depending on the duration of stay and your activities in the country, there are twenty-seven types of qualifications.

If you want to stay in the country for more than three months, you will have to register at the municipal office. Do this as soon as you enter Japan. When the registration is complete, you will be given the Alien Registration Certificate. This document will serve as your ID while you are in the country, so make sure you have it at all times.

It is not very easy to get the permanent residence status. The Immigration authorities will evaluate your contribution to the country, and decide whether you should get the permanent residence status. Learn more about  the requirements.

Everyone must have one of these types of health insurance: employees health insurance (for those who work in Japan), and national health insurance (for unemployed and self-employed persons). Public health insurance will allow you to pay only thirty percent of the expenses, but if you don’t have this type of health insurance, you will have to pay a lot of money.

Taxes in Japan

People who live in Japan (regardless of their nationality) and earn money there, have to pay local and national taxes. Local taxes (automobile taxes, residence taxes) are applied by the municipal authorities. National taxes (income taxes belong to this group) are imposed by the Government of Japan. Income taxes are based on the total income earned within one year.

Property Law

Foreigners are allowed to buy  property in Japan – even those who don’t have the permanent resident status. However, real estate prices in Japan are quite high.

The Cost of Living

The cost of living is quite high. In fact,  Tokyo  is the world’s second most expensive city. If you want to live there, you will need a lot of money. Living outside the main cities can be a good idea, if your budget is limited. Housing is very expensive. Foods are not too expensive, but the prices vary, depending on the type of food. Western delicacies are very expensive.

Read more about  living in Japan.