Imported Japan construction workers

Country comparison Japan: work, salary and life

  • Population: 126.7 million
  • Currency: Yen (JPY)
  • Average earnings: € 39,900 per year (= € 3,325 per month converted to 12 months)
  • Salary components: Basic salary plus variable salary components such as overtime payments, company pension schemes, travel expenses, bonuses (bonus payments are common in many Japanese companies twice a year). In addition to wage and local taxes, social contributions amounting to around 15.5% of the salary are withheld. These include contributions to health insurance, pension insurance, long-term care insurance and unemployment insurance. Including taxes, the deductions are on average between 27.4% (family of four) and 32.6% (one-person household) of the gross salary.
  • Tax rate / tax system: The wage tax is withheld directly from the wage and is between 5 and 45% of the gross salary (7 tax brackets), depending on income. In addition, local residents, including foreigners who have immigrated to Japan, have to pay municipal taxes (prefecture tax and council tax) totaling 10% of taxable income and a municipal housing supplement of 1,000 yen (currently approx. 8 €). In addition, a special tax for aid for reconstruction after the 2011 tsunami amounting to 2.1% of income tax will be withheld until 2037. Incidentally, part of the wage tax may be paid to a municipality of your own choice. The so-called home tax is intended to strengthen structurally weak rural areas, as many taxpayers have migrated from there to the cities.
  • Health insurance & Co: Everyone who has lived in Japan for a long time (more than a year) has to register with the national health insurance, a kind of national health insurance or citizens' insurance. Since the type of membership depends on the type of employer and the responsible municipality, a new health card must be applied for from the local authority after each move or change of employer. As a rule, each insured person bears 30% of the treatment and medication costs himself; the deductible is lower for children and people of retirement age. Health care is not organized according to the family doctor principle, as in Germany, but is taken over by the hospitals.
  • Pension: The official retirement age is currently 65 years. However, there is also the option of retiring from the age of 60 in connection with a lower pension or of continuing to work up to 70 with a later higher pension. In general, the pension system in Japan is divided into two parts. In addition to the national pension, into which everyone between the ages of 20 and 60 pays a uniform contribution, there is also the employee pension system or social pension insurance, into which all employees up to the age of 65 pay additionally. Half of the contribution rate, which is dependent on income, is paid by the employer and paid by him. Everyone who has an insurance period of at least 25 years is entitled to a national pension; additional entitlement to the social pension who has paid into it for at least one month. German insurance periods can usually be taken into account.
  • Baby break / parental leave: (Expectant) mothers are entitled to 14 weeks of maternity leave and after the birth, they and their fathers are legally entitled to take childcare leave up to the child's first birthday. During this time they will receive 25% of their salary. Due to the more traditional distribution of roles in Japanese society and the strongly hierarchically structured working world, this time-out is usually only used by mothers. The shortage of (skilled) workers on the Japanese labor market is currently causing a rethinking of the compatibility of family and work to begin.
  • Weekly working hours: Officially, there is a 40-hour week in Japan, but most employees do not adhere to this. Overtime, which is common in many areas of the Japanese working world, is remunerated with a surcharge of 25%, but only if it is documented and stated.
  • Vacation entitlement per year: A minimum entitlement of 10 vacation days is stipulated by law, which increases with age up to 20 vacation days. In addition, there are internal company regulations with significantly higher vacation entitlements. It is noteworthy that, on average, less than half of the vacation entitlement is used, employees often save their vacation days even for sick leave and let them expire at the end of the year.
  • Work breaks: For an 8-hour day, the legislature provides for a break of at least 60 minutes. A culture of breaks is more widespread in Japan than in this country: Like after work, value is placed on collaborative activities among colleagues. At the same time, relaxation rooms for a short restful nap are also widespread.

  • Japan country comparison - cost of living and minimum wage

    The amount of the Minimum wage in Japan is different from region to region than in Germany. So he is in economically strong regions with high cost of living such. B. Tokyo or Osaka significantly higher than in rural and cheaper areas such. B. Hokkaido or Okinawa. On a national average, the minimum hourly wage is currently 874 yen, which corresponds to around 7 euros at the current exchange rate. It is noticeable: The minimum wage in Japan is well below the German, although Japan is widely recognized as a country where life is expensive. It is worth taking a closer look.

    The Cost of living in Japan, as in Germany, are also heavily dependent on the region. In the metropolitan region of Tokyo / Yokohama, you have to reckon with significantly higher expenses than in large parts of Germany. Or you get significantly less for your money. So here z. For example, a 20-square-meter apartment with a small wet room and cooking facilities costs around 600 to 700 euros rental fee (+ Additional costs of 150–200 euros). In addition, there are costs of three to six months' rent for a new rental. In Japan not only brokerage and a deposit are common, the new landlord also receives a kind when the keys are handed over Thank you money or Key money (Reikin called) in the amount of one to two months rent. It is also not uncommon in Japan to charge a fee when extending an existing lease. When it comes to housing, the Japanese - compared to other wealthy industrial nations - are masters in terms of pragmatism and effectiveness. Every bit of space is used here and you are satisfied with little living space.

    Also the Food costs are generally higher than in Germany. Especially fruit, dairy products, bread etc. are more expensive. If you buy local food such as rice and regional, seasonal vegetables, you can save on food expenses. Local dishes such as noodle soups, sushi or rice balls are usually cheap and are easy on the wallet.

    Others too Everyday items such as the national public transport system or telecommunications are on average more expensive than in Germany. Then there is the basic one Deductible at costs for Visits to the doctor and medication, usually at the rate of 30 percent, which can put a considerable strain on the wallet. Apart from that, the residents of Japan can look forward to a well organized and trained social system leave. Personal reserves are therefore not of the same existential importance as in other countries, e. B. the USA. However, the social system is increasingly struggling with financing problems, so it remains to be seen how long the standard can be maintained. The main reason is that Aging society. More than a quarter of Japanese people are already of retirement age and by 2025 this will be the case for a third of people. Attempts by the Japanese government to persuade the older population to voluntarily retire later have so far only been partially successful. This could lead to Japan having to think about its traditionally rather strict immigration policy and facilitate the immigration of workers who not only do the tasks that arise but also flush social security contributions.

    Economic situation and labor market trends

    Japan is the second after the USA and China third largest economy in the world and has one of the highest gross domestic products per capita worldwide at just under 38,500 US dollars. The strongly export-oriented economy Although suffered from the global financial crisis, it has been growing steadily since 2012, albeit only slightly. In 2018 economic growth was around 1%.

    Most important business partners are the People's Republic of China, the USA and South Korea, at the European level Germany. The Main export goods are automobiles and automobile parts, machines, electronics and electrical engineering, but also chemical products. Main import goods are, in addition to electronics and chemical products, petroleum and other fuels as well as food, in line with the country's lack of raw materials.

    Japan has long boasted almost full employment and unemployment rates are still very low. After the number rose during the economic crisis, the official one lies Unemployment rate currently at 2.9% and is therefore lower than it has been in 20 years. Conversely, this does not mean that the economy is doing as well as it was 20 years ago. The low rate is currently also a Result of the shortage of skilled workers and generally employable people. Many companies are far from being able to fill all positions - the market has been swept clean. However, wages are not rising adequately and many employment contracts are fixed-term and / or only cover part-time jobs. The resulting insecurity and reduced purchasing power tend to lead to frugality for many Japanese and often to the failure to start a family. The birth rate of around 1.4 children per woman on average is as low as hardly anywhere else - the aging of society continues.

    These are the chances of getting a job in Japan

    Japan is not a classic immigration country and only about 2% of the population are foreigners. Accordingly, it is difficult for non-Japanese people to get a job and a work permit in Japan. Strict regulations prevail in Nippon and the state carefully selects who comes into the country and is allowed to work there.

    If you are an EU citizen and want to stay in the country for more than 90 days, you need a visa or a residence permit. For one Work permit you already need a job with an employer based in Japan. This then has to submit a corresponding application to the immigration authorities. The work visa or residence status is only valid for a specific occupational group and only in the defined occupational field. That means: As a foreigner in Japan you are not allowed to carry out any other activity than that permitted in the visa.

    Employers usually bet good to very good knowledge of Japanese ahead; without this it will be very difficult to find a job in Japan. Those who only have English skills are most likely to have a job with foreign companies and companies from the export sector.

    Industries in Japan with good employment opportunities and future prospects

    Generally having the best options highly qualified specialists and here above all technical experts. Anyone who is well (academically) trained in the field of research-intensive high technologies, future technologies such as electromobility, regenerative energies, carbon fibers or robotics and can help to consolidate or even expand the market leadership of Japan is welcome.

    A special position can (soon) be the Health sector take: Due to the growing proportion of old people in the population and the lack of sufficient numbers of offspring, more and more non-academically trained workers have a chance on the Japanese labor market in the care sector.

    In summary, there are currently the best job prospects for immigrants in the following sectors:

    • robotics
    • Energy Technology
    • Electrical engineering
    • Automotive industry
    • mechanical engineering
    • research
    • IT
    • Financial sector
    • health

    Which professions are in demand in Japan?

    Within the promising industries, engineers of various backgrounds are primarily sought, but other skilled workers also have opportunities for employment. The following list gives an overview of job profiles that are in demand in Japan:

    The Japanese work culture

    Even if a growing part of society is orienting itself more and more towards the west, play traditionally shaped behaviors and attitudes continues to play a major role in the Japanese world of work. Loyalty and belonging Regarding the employer and colleagues are values ​​that are usually much deeper anchored and are lived out more convincingly than is the rule in this country. With this dedication to the job, the employer and the colleagues, some phenomena of the Japanese work culture can be explained. The high number of overtime hours and the voluntary waiver of vacation days hang z. B. together with it. Many Japanese feel bad when they stay at home and know or fear that a colleague will have to take over their work. They would then not be able to enjoy their vacation. It is also considered unfriendly to leave the office when other employees are still working. So many stay in the office, even if they actually have nothing more to do and the official end of the day has already been reached.

    Also a strictly hierarchical thinking can lead to this behavior: Many Japanese find it disrespectful to leave the workplace in front of their boss. In some cases, it is also their aim to already be on site when the supervisor appears at the workplace. It does not necessarily matter whether the higher-ranking person expects this from them, they themselves expect it from themselves. This creates long office days that are no more productive than shorter days in this country. Because when there is actually nothing left to do, the time at work is served up and spent with other activities such as surfing the Internet or chatting with colleagues.

    This behavior also shows the Importance of community in Japanese working life. The individual does not have the relevance that it has in this country, rather one sees oneself as part of the whole. It is also common to go out to eat or drink or go to karaoke bars with colleagues after work (which is already late anyway). There is not much time left that could be spent in your own (small) four walls. Especially when you consider that especially in metropolitan areas One to two hour commutes to work are quite the order of the day - or rather, night order.

    The Japanese education system

    The education system in Japan is classically divided into up to five sections:

    • 3 years kindergarten
    • 6 years of elementary school
    • 3 years middle school
    • 3 years high school
    • 4 years university

    The total of nine years of elementary and middle school are compulsory for all children and young people aged 6 to 15 years. Just like for locals, public schools are open to all foreign children living in Japan during this period free of charge. Incidentally, they are also given targeted support in the school in learning Japanese.

    Even if the three year high school is not part of the compulsory period, practically all pupils also attend this type of secondary school after completing secondary school. In order to be able to attend a high school or later a university, the passing is one Entrance exam required, to which anyone with a middle school or high school diploma is admitted.

    There are also so-called Technical colleges. Here young people of middle school or high school age are trained as skilled workers. For children and young people with disabilities there is Special schools with specific funding.

    Working in Japan: conclusion

    If you are drawn to Japan for work, you should inform well in advance and get ready for a world of work that differs fundamentally from our German in many areas. There may well be a species here culture shock come. Those who are not ready to immerse themselves in Japanese (work) culture and, for example, always withdraw after work for joint ventures, will find it difficult to arrive in their new work environment and to feel comfortable there. One may not be able to understand everything and many things could certainly be made more efficient; But you have to be willing to give up or put aside Central European standards and ideas here and there.

    That too Learn which is difficult for German-speaking people Japanese language is essential.Without good to very good knowledge, it will not only be difficult to find a job, everyday work will also usually not be manageable.

    Financially is also one careful preparation sensible: With an average lower salary and slightly higher cost of living than in Germany, it is important to calculate exactly whether you can even afford to live in Japan. The fact that currently (almost) only very well-trained specialists are allowed into the country, who then usually demand and can expect appropriate payment, should, however, have a positive effect on financial feasibility once you have gained a foothold on site.

    If it works out with a job in Japan, then an exciting and educational time is very likely that will not only enrich your own personality, but also enhance your résumé. And even if some adjustment to the new environment is appropriate and necessary - the phenomenon of Karoshi shouldn't be made your own.

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    Foreign Office of the Federal Republic of Germany
    GTAI - Germany Trade & Invest
    Japanese embassy in Germany
    Jetro (Japan External Trade Organization)
    Mirror online
    Time online

    * This service does not constitute legal advice and does not replace it.