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Best Industries to Work For as a Foreign Worker in Japan

Ever thought about working in Japan? Now’s the perfect time to grab your chance! Japan’s working-age population has been steadily declining, prompting officials to invite foreign talent to fill in the gaps. They’ve developed specific types of visa to simplify the migration process for foreigners who want to work in Japan. Your Japanese experience has never been more accessible than this!

Work in Japan: Best Industries for Foreign Workers

Several Japanese industries are ready to take your application. These industries have been the most active in hiring foreign talent in recent years. Companies also provide educational courses, so learning the language shouldn’t be a problem! They are most likely designed for foreigners who are complete beginners with the Japanese language. Are you interested in making a living in the land of the rising sun? Check out some of the industries that are suitable for foreign workers in Japan:

Fishing Industry

Fisheries are among the Japanese industries that are most dependent on foreign labor. As of 2017, the ratio of foreigners to the total number of workers is at 1:73. This represents a quintuple increase in the last 8 years! Pair this statistic with the labor shortage due to Japan’s aging population and you can easily bet on getting a job in this industry as a foreigner.

In 2018, the fishing industry qualified to accept foreign workers under the new residency visa, which allows a substantial boost in the number of blue collar workers that Japan accepts. These Specified Skills Visas require specific industry-type skills that afford you more benefits should you obtain higher levels of specialization as you work in the industry.

Recent natural factors have also left the Japanese fishing industry in a crisis. Marine resources dropped and overfishing has become rampant. However, the Japanese Diet has revised the Fisheries Act in December 2018 after 70 years, which means better utilization and regulation of waters and fishing to enhance productivity. Fisheries are undeniably part of a sustainable industry, and as a foreigner, getting involved in such trade is only logical!

Information Technology

Japan’s advanced technology is indisputable. The country remains at the forefront at the rapid development of software-based technologies and IT services in general. Needless to say, this industry also sees the effects of Japan’s labor shortage due to the declining working-age population. Foreign computer engineers can take this chance to join the country’s IT specialists!

Many Japanese firms are becoming lenient with foreigners needing Japanese language proficiency. After all, computer language is generally the same around the globe. Of course, having significant Japanese skills puts you ahead of most if you’re serious about entering this Japanese industry. Still, language skills mostly apply to your everyday life outside of work.

As of 2019, there are reportedly around 28,000 foreign IT engineers working in Japan, which makes up 3% of the total IT worker population. Grab the chance to exercise your software programming skills in a country that is in dire need of your proficiency!

Restaurant Industry

You might think that the restaurant industry would be exclusive to Japanese workers. However, a fair number of reasons have left restaurants short of staff members, allowing foreigners to fill in the gaps. These places can be lenient with experience, with some requiring none. Restaurants also provide training periods that can take up to 3 months.

The leniency and training periods are among the recent causes for Japanese restaurants to fall short of manpower. The Japanese restaurant industry can be uncertain. With a zero experience requirement, some would think that they can enjoy carrying on with tasks. They would later learn that they need higher skills to get by. If you have experience with physically taxing labor, you can exercise your vigilance in a Japanese restaurant. Restaurant workers need to pay extreme attention to the needs of both the kitchen and the dining areas. This can take some serious skills!

Despite a notorious restaurant industry in Japan, many foreigners continue to secure any position in this trade. In fact, Nikkei Shinbun reported in 2018 that 1 in 27 Tokyo workers in the lodging and food service category were foreigners. This is 4th among the top 5 industries that most foreigners work in, and you could join the population!


Looking for a job in retail? The Japanese retail industry is among those with the highest demand for workers as of late. Reportedly, this category has 4 trades out of the 10 industries in need of part-time workers. You have opportunities to secure a position in super markets, furniture stores, electronic stores, convenience stores, and even pharmacies now more than ever!

As the labor pool in Japan gets more competitive following an aging population, more Japanese youth can afford to reject jobs where they can expect to get overworked and underpaid. The retail industry is notorious for such issues, where workers suffer from substandard working conditions. In an effort to improve this situation, the Japanese government crafted a law specifically to reform working styles and conditions to stimulate growth.

In 2018, 7% of 35,000 convenience store workers in Japan were foreigners. This industry held 3rd place among the top 5 industries that employ workers with visas in technical and specialized fields. With all these factors considered, from the apparent aversion of locals with retail jobs and its popularity among foreigners, this industry may as well be your ticket to a new life in Japan!


If you’ve taken Japanese studies in the past, it’s time to put them to good use! Educational and linguistic services remain a top priority in Japan, particularly in terms of the English language. A lot of adults in Japan seek English learning services to boost their careers, since the global language continues to become a standard in the business world. Relatedly, parents may enroll their children in these services to give them a head start in life!

Apart from educational services, you may want to look into translation services. This is where your previous Japanese experience comes in handy. Japanese language proficiency is an asset in translation and similar lines of work like localization and interpretation. After all, mastery over 2 different languages is involved in these kinds of tasks.

As a multilingual foreigner, you can bet that you’re in demand in the education industry. When it comes to language schools alone, you’d only need a college degree in literally any field to work as an English teacher. Recognize your strength in language and look into employment opportunities in the education system of Japan!


Which industry appeals most to you? Whether the industry heavily relies on foreign labor or they are making adjustments to simplify the migration process for foreigners, the main issue of labor shortage in Japan still stands. This affects most of its industries, and with that fact alone, you have better chances now to start a life and work in Japan. Once you assess your skills and figure out which field is most appropriate, you can identify which industry you’re likely to thrive in. Are you ready to answer Japan’s call for foreign talent? Grab this opportunity to learn something new or improve your skills in various Japanese industries!

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