40 points for > 10 million yen salary ($91,000)
10 for a bachelors
20 for a masters
30 for a phd
20 for 10 years experience
15 for 7 years experience
10 for 5 years experience
5 for 3 years experience
15 for <29
10 for 30-34
5 for 35-39
15 for a patent
15 for 3 academic papers
15 for 3 academic grant
With the right salary ($91K/year):
24 year old, with bachelors, and 3 years work experience? you are in.
40 year old, with bachelors, and 10 years work experience? you are in.
Remarkably open. Far more so than the US.
However, just like US, having permanent residency subjects you to worldwide taxation which may not be ideal for everyone.
If anyone has more information, I’d be interesting it reading it as it’s pretty unclear to me.
Correct , even if you're on a regular work visa. "Permanent resident for tax purposes" != "Permanent resident as in visa"
Interestingly, as of 2017, you're taxed on worldwide investment income like selling stock (with some exceptions ) even if you're there for < 5 years.
The USA is unique in the fact that they don't. Trump has made noises that he wants to change the system to a points system.
It's a lot more rare to make $100,000+ per year as a programmer in Japan. Normal circumstances generally will not get you there.
The caveat is that most software salaries would pay closer to 5M yen than to 10M.
Too late to edit my original post now, but in case it's not clear, one certainly can work in Japan even with a smaller salary. It's just that if you want perks like ability to bring family/apply for permanent residency early/etc., the HSFP visa is handy.
"Checking my application, I got 40 points for having > 10M JPY in the 35-40 year range."
Were you paid that by a Japanese company? The clarification on Note 2 seems to imply that they'll consider any income from a Japanese company (i.e. in the case of transfers).
I applied a bit more than one year ago, I wonder if they changed that section then.
It wouldn't surprise me much to find out that the rules are different from what's written.
Otherwise, there are plenty of foreign engineers who are already in Japan, and that you can attract through various perks. I would say the issues are not unlike what I have seen in Europe: resume are generally not discriminant, except at the extremes, and you need to spend a lot of time per candidate. I actually do not care so much about data structure/ algos: of course I expect people to know the basics such as walking a tree, or why you want to use a hashmap instead of a list, but we are generally looking for the typical T-shape, and ensure people, especially more senior ones, are deep in one area.
Maybe the most challenging issue is that you see more diversity in terms of culture than Europe (and even the US dare I say), so you need to make sure you have a decent process in place to judge people as objectively as possible.
If you don't want to be banned, you're welcome to email email@example.com and give us reason to believe that you'll follow the rules in the future.
You either invest into more technologies that allow for less labour input or you basically have to somehow increase labour input.
Moreover, Japan's mentality against foreign trainees/interns have led to criticisms from U.S. State Department's Trafficking in Persons because they are essentially being used as unofficial farm workers despite advertising it as a technical (technical as in dealing with machines) training or internship program without real oversight into working conditions and overwork without pay: https://asia.nikkei.com/Politics-Economy/Economy/Abuses-ramp...
They only need highly skilled profesionals, not masses for cheap.
Best part is Japan just doesn't care if other countries see it as racist nation - they still get going strong. And im 100% sure if anyone if going to find a solution to ever growing needs of capitalism without immigration it would be them.
According to economic theorists, Russia must be steamrolling every other high-tech economy out there, but you see the reality is different.
Fixation on "skilled professionals" is a biggest blunder of the West. Western higher education borders being worthless in its majority, yet all and every takes such pride in it as to deny immigration based on this "class attribute" which is higher education.
A guy who can till fields, and have few grams of grey matter to know how to dose fertilizers is freaking valuable for any economy.
The GDP of Japan might benefit, but that doesn't mean benefit for typical Japanese people. Wages would be pushed down. There would be cultural conflict. Japan's unique culture would die.
Japan is not in a permanent spiral of depopulation. There exist families who have plenty of children. These children will tend to do as their parents did. After a few generations of decline, the population will rebound.
Not commenting on your other points, but think you're misguided with this. Culture is not something that stays the same and needs to be preserved; it lives and changes with people. UK today isn't the same it was 30 years ago, and neither is Japan. Trying to set a culture in stone will lead to some quite undesirable undertones.
Is the culture currently in an ideal state that needs to be frozen in time? Is immigration a greater threat to Japan than the past experiences of colonialism and nuclear war? If anything, immigration seems ridiculously manageable compared to those.
It's a somewhat crass question. But ethnicity, not just nationality, seems to matter a lot in Japan.
Brazil + Peru are about 11%, it would indeed be interesting to know the breakdown there.
Amused by the line "No party has embraced xenophobia", used here to mean, apparently, that all parties agree on policies which would be sufficient to get you branded as xenophobes in the west. Or rather, to mean that there's no shouting match over the issue.
Don't know about japanese exclusive schools, Liberdade¹ is the biggest japanese community outside of Japan, but I don't think that there's any restrictions about students or anything like that in the schools of the district, Brazil has an immense amount of diversity, japanese brazilians are mostly treated the same as any other brazilians and are for the most part integrated in our country general culture.
I know people in Tokyo with working visas who are architects, waiters, dish washers, cooks, English teachers, academics, programmers, International school teachers, translators, and business people. All have working (not spousal/relative visas) and none of them have a visa tied to an employer. I have never heard of a visa in Japan tied to an employer (and none of my working visas ever were), with exception of the intra-company transfers.
I also think the path to permanent residency is relatively straight forward for all groups. Stay on a working visa 10+ years with no hiccups or long periods of unemployment, then apply. I have known plenty of non-IT workers to get it.
High-skilled visas are not connected to an employer and there is no lottery system.beats the hell out of US policies...
I find High Skilled visa to be more useful than a PR. Your parents/Spouse parents can stay with you for longer time ( provided you have a kid less than 7(?) year old)
I just think you were mistaken about the "every other [non-IT] career" part. There is plenty of immigration outside of the discussed trainee program and outside IT, so I just wanted to highlight that. Because otherwise it sounds like Japan has some kind of totally crazy locked down immigration system, but that is really not the case.
The correct modern terminology for that is racism.
Something most people don't know a lot about, because as a culture Japanese tend to be very outwardly polite so a lot of racism is very subtle and can't be spotted by someone who's just visiting.
There is racism in Japan, just like everywhere. When I lived in Canada, I saw a sales manager where I was working throwing how CVs with Indian names. I asked him what he was doing. "There's no point in hiring someone whose name I can't even pronounce", was the reply. In the UK I couldn't get on a bus without somebody complaining about how dark people were taking over the country. Racism is everywhere.
It's a good point that in Japan you will almost never run into racism in polite company -- because, as you say, it is considered impolite. However many expats who live here complain about racism. What's going on?
IMHO it's not racism, it's culturalism. In my experience, if you speak Japanese well and you know how to act as a Japanese person, you will see almost no racism. However, if you are a visible minority (as I am) people often expect that you are ignorant of Japanese culture. They put on the "you are a guest" routine, which is fine except that it wears thin when it is your home. One or two gestures and a word or two of fluent Japanese almost always snaps them out of it.
Just to illustrate the difference, I once went to Takayama with my wife (who is Japanese). We stayed at a traditional ryokan (inn). Takayama has a very famous festival and fairly large old town, so it is popular with tourists. Because my wife changed her surname to mine, the woman running the ryokan assumed she was not from Japan (although she is very obviously of Japanese ethnicity). It took quite a while for the woman to twig that my wife was, in fact, Japanese and lived in Japan. It was the first time my wife experienced that difference and it surprised her quite a bit.
I have experienced some racism in Japan, but I really don't think that it's all that much different than anywhere else. Sometimes I think that people don't see the racism where they live -- often because they are not a visible minority. When they become a visible minority for the first time, it's a shock. When I went to University the CS department was composed mostly of foreign students from China or India and most of my friends were from there. It was the first time that I really noticed the racism in Canada.
I've run out of time, but at least in my experience, it is relatively easy to live in Japan if you decide to be Japanese. They don't do melting pot here. If you want to hold on to your own culture and to act like you did in your home country, you're going to have troubles being accepted. But if you decide to accept Japanese culture completely, I don't think you will run into any problems. The if part is hard, though, and I've seen many people run into the brick wall that is Japanese culture.
20 years a gaijin here. Pretty much agree with your observations.
I would argue that Japanese themselves are subjected to immense pressures to conform to social norms. More so than foreigners, but its the same pressure in both cases.
I think that foreigners get along fine in Japan if they can accept this fact. If not, they are likely to feel constantly rejected and some, out of ignorance may deem it racism.
The model I have in my head is that the average Japanese who doesn't know your deal will put you in one of two categories:
A) You are a temporary visitor. A tourist on vacation or business trip.
B) You are a full fledged member of Japanese society.
So the more "foreign" you seem, the more likely you are to be considered "A". I'm particularly interested in Southeast Asians: are they expected to be more Japanese/Asian or "other"? I guess the temporal nature of their visas helps cement them as the latter.
Another acquaintance is dark skinned (I can't remember where he's from) and has similar Japanese ability. I think he's has a softer landing. Even I get it pretty easy sometimes and my Japanese ability (both language and culture) is pretty middling. There is a kind of role in society where you can be the "friendly gaikokujin". Everybody wants to talk to you and learn about foreign places. They want to know how cultures are different in other places. If they feel like they can treat you as a Japanese person, you get a kind of celebrity treatment. I think this is probably only the case in the country side, where I live. In the big cities, they see enough foreigners that it isn't so special.
Most problems I've seen come from people using their "Super Gaijin Powers" (can't remember where I heard that first -- I didn't make it up). Basically if you look different, you can often ignore societal rules with no apparent penalty. You do whatever you want. You dress however you want. You say whatever you want. Nobody will complain. But there are huge unseen penalties and when those penalties become apparent, people get very angry.
A good example of this that I saw often when I was working as an assistant language teacher at the high school was foreigners not going to work parties. At the end of special events (and randomly through the year) there are parties where you go and eat and drink (often a lot). Some of my colleagues just refused to go because they said that they couldn't speak to anyone, didn't drink, didn't like the food, it was too expensive, etc, etc. I would tell them, "You have to go. If you don't go, you won't get along with anyone." They would reply, "Nobody cares if I go. I just tell them I'm not going and nobody says a thing." One or two years later: "Everybody is so unfriendly. Nobody talks to me. They all avoid me. They never listen to my ideas. They pretend that they don't speak English, even though I know they do. They are all two faced bastards. I can't wait to get out of here". It's so frustratingly predictable...
But, anyway to the point: If you look Japanese enough and speak Japanese well, then you probably won't get away with abusing your gaijin super powers -- so in the long run it might be easier. Even for me, I had bit of a health problem and had to cut out drinking for a few months. It happened to coincide with drinking event -- which I attended but where I drank tea. One of the other teachers was so upset that he lodged a formal complaint against me (it's on my permanent record!) I later apologised profusely and went out drinking with him and we were the best of friends after that. There is no way that he would have complained if he didn't consider me "close enough" to Japanese.
Maybe I'm unduly influenced by a small number of such anecdotes.
True. But the knee-jerk reaction by Westerners is to call it racism, which it isn't, just like the majority of things called racist.
I've thought about bringing my parents over but Japan just doesn't do cultural diversity, and I'm not sure my parents are ready for being Japanese in Japan.
On the contrary, it's an institutionalized xenophobia/Racism deeply embedded in the national Japanese psyche. take for example these (recent) cases of blatand racism.
"Japan racism survey reveals one in three foreigners experience discrimination"
'Racism' is a loaded term that has little meaning in most situations because it entirely depends on context.
Sure, if someone is calling a black guy the n-world, well then yes, we can safely use that term.
But if we consider that the vast majority of the world is inherently ethnocentric, then term 'racism' as a hard pejorative can only effectively be used in New World / Western / Anglosphere contexts, as elsewhere it would have an entirely different meaning.
The paradox of 'diversity' is that culture and ethnicity are the root basis of differentiation in this world, and without it, there literally is no 'diversity' - and yet, any general ideal which recognizes ethnicity is deemed 'racist' (in the pejorative sense), usually by New World / Western / Anglosphere types who generally lack perspective, in my view.
So, yes, Chinese treatment of non-Han types may be 'racist' in the ugliest sense, but it requires far more nuance than this simple term can imply.
The very essence of 'diverse' ideals should be founded upon respecting the fact that other groups have a different view of the world (and have different histories) than 'we' do; instead, we all to often end up with ideals of 'diversity' which amount to 'diversity of skin colour and last name' and utter conformity on all other levels.
The way the Japanese treat outsiders needs a whole other term of it's own, really.
Affirmative action is a clumsy policy to fix the legacy of such issues, but more targeted ones like substantially increasing education and social funding for disadvantaged groups, or reparations, are politically beyond the pale.
I guess I was more asserting it doesn’t happen to white people.
The first time I’ve experienced anything close to discrimination here was when looking for a house. Despite the kind real estate agent trying his best on the phone, he couldn’t convince the landlord’s wife to even show us the house. She kept saying she couldn’t trust me and my wife to stay quiet and orderly, that she didn’t want to deal with “cultural differences”.
Here, more often than not, you are dealing with scared and uncomfortable people who don’t know how to deal with you.
A convenient cover premise when the population is extraordinarily homogeneous: most of the foreigners are going to be another ethnicity and or race.
Also, Yu Darvish got plenty of shit in his country before he became an elite pitcher in NPB - his father is Iranian. It wasn't just being a foreigner, Yu was full blooded Japanese, born there and everything.
I suspect "full blooded Japanese" means Yamato on both sides to them.
- It is not "overwhelmingly." I would guess a very small number of landlords consider anything other than the tenet's potential to make rent every month and how long they will stay.
- Even in the aforementioned cases, it is not racial and has more to do with perception of foreigners (that we can't sort garbage, that we don't speak Japanese, and so on). I imagine this hypothetically "racist" landlord would probably also deny an American that was ethnically Japanese.
But most cases of a foreigner getting denied a lease are just simple economics. Landlords in Japan are, on the whole, very risk adverse. They want tenets with stable jobs and guarantors. Often, foreigners don't have those things. Just like foreigners, Japanese have to provide proof of a stable job and have a guarantor when renting. Landlords also want tenets that are likely to stay put so they don't have to go through the hassle of filling the apartment. If you're on a 1 year working holiday visa, that puts a natural limit on how long you can stay.
Landlords often have a choice of tenets and I think they generally behave in their own economic self-interest. Ask a typical Japanese landlord to choose between a foreigner employed at Sony with his manager as a guarantor and a Japanese student that graduates in 1 year guaranteed by his parents. My money is they pick the foreigner.
FWIW, my landlord switched from requiring a guarantor to going through an insurance that acts as one. So that moves the risk assessment to the insurance company, which may or may not have less bias. I hear this kind of setup is getting more common.
Anyways, having been on the recipient end of "landlords deny foreigner", I can attest that it's overwhelmingly economics driven, and not racism.
It’s called xenophobia, of which their various forms of racism are just articulations thereof.
The Japanese do not generally hate, fear or disdain outsiders (though surely this exists, and has been the case historically) so much as they just think of themselves as different.
'Xenophobia' and 'racism' imply a degree of antagonism, derision, hatred etc., which isn't necessarily the case.
I'm English Canadian, I've lived around the world, I now live in Montreal Quebec where I'm an 'ethnic minority' among French Quebecers. There are many new immigrants to Quebec, and almost none of them want to speak French. They all want to speak English. I can assure you that 'Quebec' culture is quite different from the rest of North America, and if this situation continues, 'The Quebecois' will disappear and North America will be 'less diverse'. It's a paradox because the Quebecois are politically 'far left of centre' generally by North American standards, and are instinctively 'anti racist', 'pro migrant' in the political/intellectual sense, but they're also proud of their identity and culture, and the demographic issue looms large and real here as a real and tangible existential issue.
Terms like racism and xenophobia are useful, but are often poorly applied and cause misunderstanding.
The problem from my pov is people get defensive when someone says "Japan is great. it's so much safer than the US it makes the US feel like a 3rd world country" which is true IMO and it's said to emphasize how the US (and many other countries) take for granted the amount of crime. And sadly instead of getting the intended message which is "the level of crime you live with in the USA is something to be fixed" instead they resort to pointing out the bad parts of Japan so they can ignore the harsh conclusion.
I guess one can say that generalizing something so dire about an entire population would also, perhaps unwittingly, be racist.
Would it be racist to say that slavery in the pre-Civil War United States south was a societal issue? Or to say that racism in Nazi Germany against Jews was a societal issue? I don't think so. (I give these example to demonstrate that there is some line a society can cross where you'd hopefully agree it's an issue.)
I don't know whether the claims are true or not about Japan, but I don't think it's inherently racist against the Japanese to claim that xenophobia or racism are societal issue there.
To believe that all such accusations are inherently racist is to believe in a form of moral relativism in which no society can ever be justifiably called racist.
It is both a place worth visiting and also full of what we would call racism. The overly-politically correct crowd in America would be (and often are) shocked at what passes for acceptable race-related behavior in Japan.
Yes, Westerners call it this. And in our eyes, it is. Japanese don't particularly buy that brand of shame, though.
> ... discussions have centered around issues such as how many temporary workers should be allowed in and for how many years, rather than the longer-term question of whether Japan needs permanent immigration
> One of the biggest difficulties has to do with restrictions on allowing family members to accompany workers -- a move designed to prevent permanent immigration.
> The government's program requires trainees to stay with the same employer for three years ... Trainees are discouraged from going back to their country before finishing the three-year term or from having a child, and they cannot bring their spouse on the visa.
Yes, people in Tokyo tend to be a little curt, but no more so than people in other great metropolises like New York, Paris, or London.
I have also never experienced the permanent "outsider" stigma. I feel often the complaints boil down to people not liking that they are spoken to in English when being seated at a restaurant. Well, as someone who has quite a few friends working at restaurants, it honestly just an artifact of people trying to do their jobs efficiently, not some elaborate scheme to ostracize white people.
Japanese are indifferent and non-confrontational. If you don't care about what people think and don't try to integrate too hard, life isn't bad.
Most of the world is China, India and Africa.
The rest of the developed world is vastly better than Japan when it comes to treating immigrants better.
Japan: 98.5% ethnic Japanese
Immigrants in the US + their US born children = 27% of the population, roughly 86 million people, or equal to 3/4 the size of Japan's entire population. Such hostility.
I suspect that’s the key right there. From friends who are the same, I get the impression that in Japan if you’re of Japanese descent the expectations had of you are very different than the typical gaikokujin.
[You, personally, may possibly have one exception on this list, roughly if you come from the edge of one of these, but never more.]
Blackface is quite common in Japan. Example: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-42561815
They have more work to do on their attitude towards foreigners than opening up more immigration channels.
Is the blackfaced actor used to make fun of black people? Probably racist. But that would also be the case if it were a black actor doing the same (it might just be more difficult to hire one for that).
Is it used to create tension between the obviously fake costume and the effort put into pretending that it is real? Probably not racist. I can imagine a show deriving great hilarity from casting everyone in a role they are not the least bit suited to and then trying to make it work anyway.
I remember the controversy of blackface being used in Tropic Thunder. I think you’re right that the intention behind it matters.
As an extreme and over the top example: Stalin wasn't Russian.
Are there people from Japan, or Somalia, who many Russians (and the newspapers) would unthinkingly refer to as Russian? (Not a rhetorical question!)
I guess my criteria (for the above) are something like this: an awful lot of British people, and 100% of newspapers, will describe the sprinter Sir Mo Farah as being British, and only get to his place of birth on page two. This pretty much doesn't happen elsewhere.
Although a reverse thing does happen, in which (for example) 2nd- and 3rd-generation british indians are not only welcome to almost all the privileges of Indian citizenship, but (if they become famous) are cheered in India. There is a lot of fawning over Priti Patel in the Indian newspapers, but obviously none at all in Ugandan newspapers.
I would not even try, I'm not Japanese. I can like their culture, work there, respect their laws and all, but Japanese I am not and will never be.
Imagine your skilled with a riffle because.. you like to shoot stuff out on the farm. Sign up for the army and you will be shipped to bootcamp where they teach you how to shoot "correctly", polish your shoes and make your bed and most importantly chain of command.
Note: commanding office says jump, you say how high.
You have your platoon where everyone entered at the same time, your all buddies, get shat on by the peps one year ahead of you and everyone progress at the same pace.
Note: skill as a good shot has no relevance to your rank and pay.
After you have put in time you can advanced in rank and thus pay. Get married / kids theres additional benefits.
Note: your rank and pay are directly related to years of service.
Unlike the army, you will not get any medals, heroics of jumping on a grenade to save the team are frowned upon. Its better to hold a meeting with the team, to clarify what the grenade is, check all possible outcomes, investigate every tiny detail by which time everyone is dead. Key point is everyone, the dead part is largely irrelevant.
After some time, your buddies seem to like you and your leading the platoon. Congratulations you have now advanced your career to the fast track lane. Moving slightly faster than your peers as they are "workers" and not management.
Note: fast track has nothing to do with your shooting skill.
.. and so on and so on.
source: lived and worked Tokyo for 10+ years.
This was also my experience working for a US subsidiary of a Japanese multinational.
They do things very very deliberately. Which in some fields is a good thing. But that doesn't work all that well when competing against companies that "move fast and break things". Or even against companies that operate at a non-glacial pace.
Occasionally I would have loved to scream: "JUST MAKE A FUCKING DECISION!" But that's not generally part of their culture.
To be fair, there were also maverick groups within the company that did move fast and were able to compete quite successfully. But they were the exception.
Thats the theory, sometimes it works in practice, sometimes other shit screws it all up.
But it's entirely from an individualists perspective.
Maybe your 'shooting skill' at the end of the day is not as important as your life-long commitment to the cause?
You know the African proverb: "If you want to go fast, go alone, if you want to go far, go as a group"
Well, building a nation is 'going far' and can't be done on the basis of individuals all competing to out-do each other.
When it comes to 99% of things, surely some are a little better than others, some work harder than others, but really, 'we're all a commodity' in the long run. Even those who are spectacularly talented require legions of supporting people.
I'd also argue that they are not putting completely morons in charge, and that in the end, probably the better hands are getting promoted ultimately.
Also recognize that even the most nimble and entrepreneurial organizations are inherently pyramid-ish, and it gets really narrow at the top. There's not a lot of room for promotion - and that it might be considered selfish and bombastic to be demanding 'special recognition' for your efforts, if everyone is 'putting in effort'.
Consider that it (was) also a Japanese trait to not lay people off: this was shameful. Instead, your dignity was respected on some level, and you got to do a 'nothing job' all day at least to keep up appearances and keep your salary.
This is not so much an authoritarian structure as it is communitarian one.
Japan is a tiny island with few natural resources and yet somehow is one of the wealthiest and most advanced nations on earth, I suggest that these types of social structures are exactly why this is ... which comes at the cost of individual aspiration.
Platoon, Company, Battalion 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 etc.
Of course the goal is to get into Division 1, as its the most prestigious.
- Lead developer for social mobile game company in 2010 - $3,500/mo
- Brief stint at another game company in 2012 for a few months - $4,200/mo
- (Remote work for non-JP companies)
- Lead infrastructure and technical leader for mobile game company in 2016 - $6,000/mo - although I was arguably able to push that high (that is considered relatively high here) due to both the technical and Japanese speaking experience I built up over the years.
The rule of thumb is typically: (age * 100) + 500~1000 "you must be a creative thinking foreigner" bonus
Non-game industries are slightly better paying, however, here is the catch: The entire IT industry has organically standardized on 10am-7pm work hours. Depending on your company and how much you are willing to not play the overtime game, there are expectations of up to an extra 45 hours per month of unpaid OT, so if you don't hold your ground you could be coming home on the last train.
The actual experiences were great. Loved the people I worked with, learned a lot. However, if you are coming from somewhere that pays US-level salaries, prepare to be surprised at your offer.
Generally, your wage will start out low at any company since you're expected to stay forever and your loyalty eventually earns you a living wage after ~10 years.
In international companies, as purely a software engineer, you can go above 150k total comp.
If you want to make more, you want to go toward sales/marketing/etc. In that aspect, it is a bit like Europe where staying technical locks you very quickly. A good sales/marketing person can make 200k+, but that would of course require excellent Japanese skills.
 Source: I am managing a machine learning group in a startup in Tokyo and manage the hiring of my team.
I actually don't think it's the salaries that are the problem- I think it's harder to fit into the culture of a Japanese firm than the lower salaries.
Basically a way to cut wages forever.
We detached this subthread from https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=17274714 and marked it off-topic.
"Japanese" isn't a race, and culture isn't a function of racial identity.
If these things were true, then American culture would belong only to one race, and it clearly doesn't.
Also, see Han (ethnicity) and Chinese (nationality), where outside of China the latter is often used to mean the former.