How easy is it living in Japan as a foreigner?
In 2006, Japan’s Ministry of Internal Affairs requested that local authorities take active steps to set up support services or foreign residents, as the number of foreign residents was already seen to be on an uptrend. Support services include such things as foreign-language explanations of emergency preparedness, how to find housing, and support for learning Japanese, for example.
Fast forward to 2018, when the Ministry recorded the highest number ever of foreigners living in Japan: 2,497,000 (a 7.5% year-on-year increase), and a 30% increase in the last five years. The number of foreigners coming to live in Japan is expected to continue increasing steeply in the coming years. As we previously reported, the government has created a new resident status that will allow workers from mainly Asian countries to come fill the labor shortage. For more on this, please: Specified Skills Visa for Japan
What kind of support services are provided by local governments?
What kind of progress has been made by local authorities in the last 12 years?
In a recent survey, the Nikkei Shinbun surveyed over 250 cities and towns throughout Japan with a high percentage of foreign residents, in an effort to find out what kind of services local municipalities have been putting in place to help foreign residents.
The main takeaway from the survey is that about 60% of local governments have not met the benchmarks for basic support services deemed necessary to help foreign residents live in Japan. Here are some highlights:
- Over 90% of local governments do provide information about government services in multiple languages.
- Almost 90% provide support services for learning Japanese.
But in most other categories, support services for foreigners were found to be rather lacking. For example:
- Only 60% of local governments provide any sort of consultation services for foreigners who need info related to living in Japan.
- Only about 55% have information about disaster preparedness available in multiple languages.
- Only about 30% provide any info about medical institutions that are able to provide handle medical needs for foreign residents.
- Only about 25% provide any sort of support for looking for housing or are taking measures to help eliminate housing discrimination.
- Only 10% of local governments indicated that they had a method of determining the location of foreign residents in an emergency situation (such as natural disaster).
Please see the chart below for other categories of support services.
What kind of information and services would make your life easier in Japan?
Of course, government support services are not the only way to help make it easier for foreigners to live in Japan.
Also, as a foreign resident of Japan you may have almost no difficulty with your life; or if and when you do, you simply ask your friends and co-workers for help.
In this case, is the implication of the Nikkei survey cited above (that local cities and governments in Japan aren’t doing enough to support foreign residents) even relevant?
We’d like to know what you think and what would make life easier in Japan for you.
Take the survey and tell us what you think!
Real Estate Japan would like your thoughts on “What would make your life easier in Japan?”
The survey takes about 10 minutes to fill out. The survey is being conducted via a Google Form.
We will randomly select 20 people who have submitted valid survey answers to receive a 500JPY e-gift card for Amazon.co.jp. The chances of receiving a gift card depend on the number of valid entries.
We ask for your email address so we can notify winners. One response per person, please! Your email address will not be shared with any third parties. We reserve the right to disqualify invalid or fraudulent entries.
The survey will run from February 8th to February 22nd. Winners will be notified by email in the first week of March.
Now tell us what you think. And good luck in the drawing!