Basics of Working in Tokyo



Landing a job in Tokyo is a very rewarding step because it allows an expat to work in one Asia's most modernised, thriving and global cities. Know the basics of keeping a prosperous career in Japan’s capital where tradition co-exists with the 21st century. 

Almost 9.5% of Japan’s total workforce is concentrated in the city of Tokyo where 61% is made up of expatriates who are granted with residency permit to work. However, the journey towards a successful career in Tokyo doesn’t stop with the signing of a job contract. An expat moving to Tokyo must also be aware of the local business customs as well as some labour laws that’ll protect them while working abroad. 

Business Culture 

When working in a foreign city, an employee must be knowledgeable and sensitive when it comes to their traditions to avoid offending local colleagues and to prevent misunderstanding. The Japanese are very particular when it comes to etiquettes that are strongly influenced by years of local tradition. Gaijins (foreigners/expats) should remember to bow when introduced to someone for the first time unless the local offered his/her hand first for a handshake. 

They also observe someone’s character by the way they are dressed and in Japanese meetings, it is best to dress formally and to avoid clothes that are too fashionable. Also, one golden rule is to refrain from sitting down first if the rest of the locals are still standing up. Because of their value for hierarchy, seats are not just plainly seats. People are assigned a particular spot according to their status or position in the company so wait for instructions to avoid setting the wrong impression. 

Work Schedule 

The Japanese are very hardworking people and are known for spending long hours at work. By law, a full-time employee is entitled to an hour of lunch and should not exceed 40 hours per week (eight hours a day). Any rendered work outside eight hours is considered an overtime and should be paid at least 25% of the employee’s daily rate or 35% if the excess time is rendered on a holiday. Leave credits are usually granted based on the employee’s seniority in the company. But in general, any worker who has worked continuously for at least six months are already eligible for a minimum of ten days annual leaves. 


Below is the list of the Japanese national holidays that are being observed in Tokyo: 

January 1

New Year’s Day

January 11

Coming of Age Day

February 11

National Foundation Day

March 21

Vernal Equinox Day

April 29

Showa Day

May 03

Constitutional Memorial Day

May 04

Greenery Day

May 05

Children’s Day

July 18

Marine Day

August 11

Mountain Day

September 19

Respect for the Aged Day

September 22

Autumnal Equinox Day

October 10

Health Sports Day

November 03

Culture Day

November 23

Labour Thanksgiving Day

December 23

The Emperor’s (Akihito) Birthday