Foreigners in Japan Facing Severe Change of Employment


photo by Dick Thomas Johnson

It has been more than 20 months since the COVID-19 pandemic started. In line with vaccination campaign spreading all over the world, Japan achieved 46% vaccination rate as of the beginning of September 2021. However, the highly contagious Delta variant change the game and we all have been sucked into uncertainty. Consequently, Japan’s economy is still low and many foreign workers have ended up losing their jobs.


Former international Students

Overall, international students have a good Japanese communication skill. About 80% of them have business level or higher Japanese language skills, therefore, Japanese companies are keen to hire them. Also, more than half of international students want to remain in Japan after they graduate the school to work for a Japanese company or Japanese office of international company. However, the COVID-19 pandemic is forcing them to struggle to find a job, and less than 40% of new graduates have found jobs this year. In order to raise the employment rate of international graduates, the government holds interview sessions and job guidance thorough the public employment service center for foreigners (Hello Work) to support international graduates. The center offices are in every prefecture. Check the website of your prefecture’s employment service center for events and announcements. 

Employment Service Center



Technical intern trainees

Technical intern training program was established in order to provide training, technical skills and knowledge developed in Japan for foreign nationals from emerging countries, and support development of those countries. So far, Japan has been accepting technical intern trainees from Vietnam, Philippines, Indonesia, etc. Presently, there are approximately 400,000 technical intern trainees in Japan. Due to the current boarder restriction to stop the spread of COVID-19, it is extremely difficult to accept new trainees from overseas, and consequently there is severe labor shortage in some industries. On the other hand, in some industries, many companies are experiencing a huge decline in earning and unable to keep employing technical intern trainees, resulting in a significant discrepancy in employment rates of trainees. To support those trainees to live in Japan safely, Organization for Technical Intern Training provides consultation services on everyday life, change of training provider, visas, COVID-19, etc. (By email/phone)

Organization for Technical Intern Training


Working visa holders

Currently, Japan’s employment market is in downturn, so is employment rate of foreign nationals. Restaurant and accommodation businesses and part of manufacturing businesses particularly had significant declines in earning, and many foreign workers have lost their jobs. As foreign workers have limitations on type of occupations in which they can engage, therefore they have disadvantage to find a job. As a result, many foreign nationals have ended up in financial difficulty. To support such former workers, the government allows working visa holders who lost their jobs to retain their visa status for 6 months. Also Hello Work is providing guidance on benefits from governments and social security system, in addition to employment support. This is a comprehensive assistance for foreign nationals who are not fluent in Japanese to eliminate information gap. In addition, Hello Work offices in cities provide multi-lingual translation service by interpreters. Available languages differ by offices depending on foreign population in each area. Inquire for dates that interpreters are available as they are not attending everyday.

Hello Work internet service
The list of Hello Work office with interpreters


Useful link

When you work in Japan as a foreign worker, your major concern would be a stable employment. Same as the rest of the world, Japan’s economy has been sluggish, and its employment market is in downturn. Many foreign workers who have lost their jobs are struggling to find new jobs. When you try to find a job in such a situation, collecting accurate information is crucial. The below is a list of useful links.

Employment Policy for Foreign Workers by MHLW
Work Japan
WeXpats Jobs
Yolo Japan


Stay strong

The COVID-19 pandemic struck Japan’s economy hard. No matter of nationalities of people, finding a job is hard because of the decline in employment market. Particularly, travel, food service and accommodation businesses, which employed many foreign nationals before COVID-19, had are suffering significant decline, resulting in the increased amount of unemployment of foreign workers. Furthermore, the ongoing boarder restrictions worldwide are holding those who wish to return to their countries in Japan. If you have difficulty finding a job, inquire your nearest Hello Work office and ask about available visa treatment, benefit from a government, and employment support for foreign nationals.





あきらことほ Kotoho Akira

Living outside Japan for a good many years, I often rediscover nice little things about this country every time I return here. I would be more than happy if this column may help you find your "nice little things about Japan"!

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