- MORGAN McKINLEY
- Level 17, Holland Hills, Mori Tower
- 5-11-2 Toranomon, Minato-ku
- Tokyo, Japan
- tel: +81 3 5403 7073
At a Glance
- Government: Constitutional republic, Unitary state, Semi-presidential system
- Administrative Divisions: 47 prefectures
- Area: 377,944 sq km
- Population: 126,300,214 (2013)
- Legal system: Based on civil law of Europe
- Capital: Tokyo
- Dialing code: +81
- Time Zone: JST (UTC+9)
- Literacy: 99%
- Languages: Japanese, English
- Currency: Yen (JPY)
- Per capita income (IMF 2010-12): $36,266 (Intl. $)
- Life Expectancy (WHO 2011): Male: 79.29, Female: 86.96
Immigration & Visa
Japan has seven types of visas, including two types of visas for short-term stays. Working visas are issued for 14 different types of residence status. Purposes for entering Japan are broadly divided into those requiring short-term stays, such as tourism, and other purposes, such as work, necessitating long-term stays.Short-term stays refer to temporary visits of up to 90 days for such purposes as: sightseeing; sports; convalescence; visits to relatives/friends; amateur participation in athletic meetings or other contests; or business trips. These activities require either a temporary or transit visa. (However, this category excludes profit-making operations and paid activities.) If a foreigner wishes to enter Japan for activities other than those mentioned above, he or she will need a diplomatic visa, official visa, working visa, general visa, or specified visa.
Foreigners who enter Japan having acquired a working visa are able to work in Japan. It is also possible to get permission for long-term stays for some activities that meet certain criteria, such as Japanese university or college education or company training, although work is not permitted in these cases. Permission for long-term residence in Japan is also granted in the case of spouses of Japanese nationals and others who settle in Japan.
There are two approaches to obtaining a visa for the above- mentioned activities. The first step for both routes is to ask a representative at your local Japanese embassy or consulate whether or not you should attach a Certificate of Eligibility (COE) to your visa application. Normally, you save time if you obtain a COE or if one is obtained on your behalf. The processing time for issuing a visa application with a COE is generally two to four weeks shorter than applying without a COE.
Banking & Tax
Banks in Japan operate similarly to banks in other countries. Most banks are open from 9:00am to 3:00pm and closed on weekends and national holidays. ATMs have longer operating hours and tend to be available on weekends and holidays. An increasing number of ATMs are available 24 hours a day.
Opening a bank account
You must have a long term visa to open a bank account in Japan. In most cases you will require an Residence Card but some banks may also accept a Japanese driver’s license instead. More conservative banks may also require a personal stamp (inkan). Most banks do not require a minimum deposit to open an account and do not charge a fee to maintain it. Interest rates on regular accounts are very low, often fractions of a percent. Once you have applied, your bank book and ATM card will be sent to you in the post.
A taxpayer in Japan is defined as anyone spending more than six months in the fiscal year on Japanese soil, regardless of their nationality, residency status, employment status, source of income or current location (bank) of income. If you have spent less than six months (cumulated) in Japan, you will need to declare your taxes in the country where you have spent six months in the fiscal year. Taxpayers in Japan are divided in three different groups for which taxes are applied differently, these categories are not related to visa types:
Non permanent resident
A person who has lived in Japan for less than five years, but has no intention of living in Japan permanently. Non-permanent residents pay taxes on all income except on income from abroad that does not get sent to Japan.
A person who has either lived in Japan for at least five years or has the intention of staying in Japan permanently. Permanent residents pay taxes on all income from Japan and abroad.
A person who has lived in Japan for less than one year and does not have his primary base of living in Japan.Non-residents pay taxes only on income from sources in Japan, but not on income from abroad. Employees in Japan (both Japanese nationals and foreigners) have their taxes automatically deducted from their monthly pay by their employers, and the amount is usually a bit higher than the real income tax rates.
Accommodation & Expenses
Whether you are coming to Tokyo on an expat package with a housing budget or otherwise, there will be an apartment to meet your needs.
Typical Japanese apartments
- Apartments do not come with any appliances
- Two to four months’ security deposit is generally required, as well as two months’ key money (see below for definition of key money)
- A contract renewal fee is payable every two years
- Apartments come with all major appliances – washer, dryer, dishwasher, phone and phone-line, and a refrigerator
- Four to six months’ security deposit is required but no key money
Once you have found your new apartment or house you will need to make the necessary contractual arrangements before moving in. Before signing a contract you should also familiarise yourself with some of the rental regulations and customs in Japan, such as:
Security deposit (Shikikin)
Landlords will often request a security deposit of four to six months’ rent in advance. When you move out or at the end of the lease, the cost of cleaning or repairs will be deducted from this security deposit.
Since 1961 Japan has provided universal health coverage, which allows virtually all access to preventive, curative and rehabilitative services at an affordable cost.
All residents of Japan are required by the law to have health insurance coverage. People without insurance through employers can participate in a national health insurance program administered by local governments. Patients are free to select physicians or facilities of their choice and cannot be denied coverage. Hospitals, by law, must be run as non-profit and be managed by physicians. For-profit corporations are not allowed to own or operate hospitals. Clinics must be owned and operated by physicians.
Medical fees are strictly regulated by the government to keep them affordable. Depending on the family income and the age of the insured, patients are responsible for paying 10%, 20% or 30% of medical fees with the government paying the remaining fee. Also, monthly thresholds are set for each household, again, depending on income and age, and medical fees exceeding the threshold are waived or reimbursed by the government. Uninsured patients are responsible for paying 100% of their medical fees, but fees are waived for low-income households receiving government subsidy. Fees are also waived for homeless people when they are brought to the hospital by ambulance.
Travel Cards in Tokyo
Japan has an efficient public transportation network, especially within metropolitan areas and between the large cities. Japanese public transportation is characterised by its punctuality, its superb service and the large crowds of people using it. Japan’s four major islands Honshu, Hokkaido, Kyushu and Shikoku are serviced by an extensive and reliable network of railways. About 70% of Japan’s railway network is owned and operated by Japan Railways (JR), while the remaining 30% is held by several dozens of private railway companies, especially in and around metropolitan areas.
Tokyo’s subway network is operated by two companies, the Toei Subways with four lines and Tokyo Metro (formerly known as Eidan Subways) with eight lines. Together, they densely cover central Tokyo, especially the area inside the Yamanote circle and the areas around Ginza and Shitamachi.
Special subway ticket prices
A variety of day passes are available for the Tokyo subway network. These can be purchased from train stations and vending machines and are valid from the first train in the morning until the last train in the evening. Here are some examples of different travel passes:
- Tokyo free kippu: Allows unlimited use of all subway lines (Toei and Tokyo Metro) and JR trains in central Tokyo for one calendar day. It is also valid on buses and streetcars operated by Toei.
- Toei and Tokyo metro one-day economy pass: Allows unlimited use of all subway lines (Toei and Tokyo metro) for one calendar day.
- Tokyo metro open ticket: Allows unlimited use of the eight Tokyo metro subway lines. A regular one day pass costs ¥710 and a tourist version is available for ¥600 (one day) and ¥980 (two consecutive days). The tourist version is only available from Narita Airport or through travel agents across Japan (except in Tokyo, Chiba, Kanagawa, Saitama, Yamanashi, Gunma, Tochigi and Ibaraki Prefectures).