Are you planning to move to another country for a fresh start?
It's no surprise that Japan is the chosen destination of many people for their next big adventure in life.
From the fascinating culture to the many wonderful sights to see, Japan is a great place to spend a few years working and living your life to the fullest.
In this article, we will bring you everything you need to know if you are planning a move to Japan.
The legal requirements
Our biggest piece of advice when it comes to moving to Japan is to organize your move well in advance of your departure date.
The legal requirements you will need for moving to Japan include:
Your visa application
A certificate of eligibility
Depending on your country of origin, you may require a visa to move to or visit Japan.
Before you go, if you would like to visit Japan to see what life is like there, you can opt for a short stay visa for up to 90 days.
However, there are a number of countries that do not require a visa for a short stay in Japan for tourism or business purposes.
These countries include Canada, USA, UK, New Zealand, Australia, Hong Kong, Korea, and most European countries.
If you plan on staying in Japan for more than 90 days, you must avail of a long-term visa. The type that you can obtain depends on your nationality and personal circumstances.
If you plan on moving to Japan to work, you must get an appropriate work visa. Citizens of certain countries can apply for a working holiday visa.
Countries whose citizens can apply for a working holiday visa in Japan:
This visa allows an initial stay in Japan of up to six months, which can be extended twice for up to six months. It is for recreational purposes and allows the holidaymaker to work on a limited basis while in Japan.
Education in Japan
Known across the globe for having some of the highest standards of education, many international students come to Japan to study.
You can apply for a scholarship for a number of universities in Japan so that you can study there for free.
If you are planning to move to Japan to study, you can apply for an appropriate student visa.
Studying in Japan is an excellent opportunity to embrace the wonderful Japanese culture.
Weather in Japan
Japan has four seasons and a varying climate.
Spring takes place from March until May. During Spring, the weather is nice and warm without being overly hot.
From June to August is Japan’s summer. This is the hottest season, with temperatures reaching up to 34℃.
Autumn is from September up until November. The heat is certainly more tolerable during autumn than in the summer.
Finally, the Japanese winter takes place from December until February. The winter is considerably mild with temperatures ranging between -4℃ and with highs of up to 10℃.
The official language in Japan is Japanese.
In the large, popular cities like Tokyo for example, you will find that many people speak English.
Lifestyle and Cost of Living
The cost of living in Japan is considered to be one of the highest in the world. However, the salaries are also high which makes it very possible to live a comfortable lifestyle.
Many working holiday makers and expats in Japan choose to live in the big cities like Tokyo, Osaka and Nagoya. These cities are the most expensive with Tokyo being well-known for being one of the most expensive cities in the world.
The standard of living and quality of life in Japan is also believed to be one of the highest in the world. Japan's healthcare system is one of the best in the world with the country boasting some of the highest life expectancy rates.
Healthcare in Japan
The Japanese healthcare system makes the patient cover 30% of the cost of their medical expenses and the Japanese government will pay the remaining 70%.
This is the public healthcare programme which is available to Japanese citizens and foreigners alike!
If you want a more extensive coverage with your healthcare programme, you can also opt for private healthcare in Japan.
Working in Japan
Finding a job in Japan is relatively simple, especially for those who can speak some Japanese. Having some knowledge of the language will be a huge benefit when searching for a job.
Some employers may require that you have a certain level of Japanese before they hire you.
However, if you don’t speak it, you will still be able to find a job but your options for work will be limited.
The Japanese Tax System
The Japanese tax year is from January 1 to December 31.
Your liability for paying taxes in Japan depends on your residency status. Your own personal circumstances will determine if you are considered a resident or non-resident for tax purposes in Japan.
There are two different types of residents:
A non-permanent resident is a person who is not a Japanese national and has spent less than five years and more than one year in Japan over the previous ten years.
A permanent resident is someone who is a Japanese citizen and has spent over this amount of time in Japan in the previous ten years.
It's likely that if you moved to Japan from another country you are a non-permanent resident.
You are considered a non-resident if you don’t fall into the two above categories.
If you are a non-permanent resident, you pay tax on all of your income except income that you earn abroad that is not sent to Japan.
Permanent residents will pay tax in Japan on their worldwide income.
The tax you pay depends on your circumstances like your income and marital status.
There is a tax withholding system in place which means many employees don't have to file a tax return at the end of the tax year.
However, you must file a tax return if:
You leave Japan before the end of the tax year
Your employer does not withhold taxes
You have more than one employer
Your annual income exceeds ¥20,000,000
Your side income exceeds ¥200,000
The good news is that if you do have to file a Japanese tax return, you could be due a big tax refund.
At Taxback.com, we can help you file your tax return and get your maximum tax refund. The average Japanese tax refund for Taxback.com customers is ¥111,000.
All employees working in Japan are required to pay a contribution to a pension insurance fund out of their wages.
These pension contributions are usually 11% of your earnings. This does depend however on whether your employer has a private social insurance plan or you are paying into the Government's National Pension Scheme.
The good news is that if you leave Japan and have paid pension contributions, you can claim a Japanese pension refund! You are entitled to a pension refund from Japan if:
You're not a Japanese citizen
You paid national pension insurance for more than six months
You left Japan permanently less than two years ago
When the Japanese Pension Service refunds your pension contributions, they will deduct 20.42% income tax on your refunded amount. Fortunately, once you receive your pension refund, you can claim this tax back as well.
Claiming a Japanese tax refund
There are many reasons you may be due a tax refund if you lived in Japan, for example:
You worked there for more than a year
You are married
You have dependants
Taxback.com customers get an average Japanese tax refund of ¥111,000.
As already mentioned, you may have also paid into a pension plan fund in Japan and once you leave the country, we can get that money back for you as well. Our average Japanese pension refund is ¥600,000.
You can use our Japan tax calculator to find out how much tax refund you are due.
In order to claim your Japanese tax refund, you must file a tax return.
Preparing a tax return can be confusing and complicated, especially if you're not familiar with the process.
At Taxback.com, our experts are specialists in Japanese tax laws, so we can do all the tax return preparation for you and simply send the money to you!
We have been getting Japanese tax back since 1996, so we know what we are doing!
This saves you from a world of tax stress and ensures you receive your maximum legal tax refund.
Why choose Taxback.com?
Live chat team on hand 24/7 to answer your queries
Maximum tax refund in Japan guaranteed
Convenient online service, we do the hard work, you get the cash!