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Challenges for foreign workers in Japan

S&K Holdings
07 Feb, 2023

Many foreign workers travel to Japan in search of employment and the opportunity to make a better life for themselves and their families. Foreign employees in Japan may experience a range of highs and lows, from the satisfaction of earning a respectable wage and gaining work experience to the annoyance of failing to advance despite their best efforts.

The likelihood of obstacles and difficulties for immigrant workers in the Land of the Rising Sun is higher than that for native workers. Here in this blog, we have listed some of the challenges that a foreign worker generally faces in Japan: 

Language and cultural barriers: Employees from around the world experienced language and cultural barriers during their period of employment in Japan. This illustrated the harsh reality of life for many foreign workers, who frequently faced prejudice and hostility due to their nationality Due to language and cultural barriers, foreign workers have to face racism from native Japanese people. Due to these obstacles, people may find it challenging to grasp legal papers since they are unable to comprehend their legal rights and duties. When employees fail to integrate into the local community and culture, this issue might result in a profound sense of loneliness, anxiety, and despair. 

Long working hours: Japan is renowned throughout the world for being a hardworking nation where workers are frequently found working longer hours than the rest of the world. In 2019, a new law restricting overtime work was passed across the nation, but it remains only on paper. Despite the law, employers often pressure their employees to work overtime without pay to maximize their profit. As a result, the nation’s long-working culture and mentality led to a rise in stress and depression, placing tremendous levels of work pressure on both local and foreign workers. Therefore, if you are seeking an opportunity to work in Japan, you should be mentally and physically prepared. 

Seniority and Hierarchy: Aside from giving importance to long working hours, Japanese companies highly prioritize respect, loyalty, and harmony among their employees. In Japan, seniority and the organization’s hierarchy system should always be considered. Therefore, it can be difficult for foreign workers to adjust to this system, as they might not be used to following a similar culture in their country. 

Discrimination: It is possible for foreign workers to experience discrimination at work, whether it is intentional or not. As a result, it may be challenging for them to advance in their careers or feel at ease in their workplace. This is saddening for foreign workers because discrimination can be demotivating and make them feel unwelcome. 

Limited Job Opportunities: Foreign workers find it difficult to find work in Japan because of the lack of employment opportunities, which also prevents them from pursuing more specialized or well-paying positions. Because of this, many foreign workers are placed in a challenging situation with little job security and restricted access to resources needed for their career advancement. So, this lack of opportunity also affects their quality of life, as they cannot experience the same level of career growth or stability that they would find in other countries. 

Limited access to social services: Foreign workers may have limited access to social services like healthcare and education, which can make it challenging to fully integrate into Japanese society. As a result, foreign workers in Japan can face feelings of social isolation and exclusion because of a lack of access to social services that are necessary for living a comfortable life. 

Difficulty in obtaining permanent residency: If foreign workers intend to live in Japan for a long time or bring their families to Japan, it is difficult to get permanent residency. Japan has traditionally had a strict immigration policy, and its government has been resistant to allowing foreigners to get permanent residency. The strict requirements may make it difficult for foreign workers to get permanent residency even if they have been working and living in Japan for years. 

Being a foreign worker, challenges and hurdles are always going to be in your way as you have to adjust to a new language, culture, and environment. These challenges may irritate you at first, but once you accept them as part of the country’s culture, you can embrace them positively. The ability to adjust and adapt to a different culture is key to the success of foreign workers in Japan. However, if you are having a problem finding a job in Japan or need any career counseling, feel free to reach out to S&K Holdings. We are always here to assist and provide you with the appropriate career opportunity for your talents.

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