Jobs in Japan for Americans

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Jobs in Japan for Americans

The number of foreign workers in Japan is increasing more than ever due to the shortage of domestic labor and new special skill visas.

This time, from the perspective of foreign workers, SDC International Shipping will look at jobs in Japan for Americans.

First, let’s see why Americans choose to work in Japan and the number of foreigners in the Japanese labor market.

Increasing Number of Foreign Workers

The number of English-speaking workers in Japan has been rising in recent years.

According to the October 2021 survey, the total number of foreigners working in Japan as of the end of October 2020 was 1,724,328, and many Americans were among them.

Compared to the same period of the previous year, foreign workers went up by 65,524. The number of foreign workers in Japan is increasing more than ever, partly due to the new establishment of a Specified Skilled Worker visa in 2019.

Behind the increase in foreign workers are the labor shortage in Japan and the attractive benefits offered by companies.

Why Americans Work in Japan

The reason why Americans work in Japan is that the economy is larger than in other Asian countries.

Compared to the Japanese minimum wage ($4,730), working in Japan is several times more money worth than in China ($1,145) or South Korea ($1,480). 

The average pay for Americans is around $4,500. However, a monthly wage may vary depending on region, industry, educational qualifications, and experience. 

There are also many Americans who come to Japan longing for Japanese culture and technology.

In any case, many highly motivated US citizens think that Japan is the country where they can broaden their career horizons.

Top 5 Jobs in Japan for Americans

The most popular jobs among foreigners working in Japan are IT and electronics.

Information Technology 

American IT professionals are in high demand in Japan. You will find many international companies with offices in the county that look for System Analysts, Backend Developers, IT Managers, and other IT-related jobs. Despite many Japanese engaging in the same roles, they also recruit English speakers to connect to English-speaking partner countries. 

The average monthly rate is $5,400. 


Teachers ranked second in popular occupations among Americans working in Japan.

Language proficiency, which tends to be a bottleneck in working in Japan, is a profession that can be used as a weapon.

It is also a profession that foreigners often prefer with a status of residence that allows them to work other than work visas, such as Japanese spouses and international students.

There are around 3,000 Americans who come to Japan under the Jet (The Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) program every year to work mainly as Assistant Language Teachers. As a teacher, you’ll get many benefits and plenty of support.  

The teacher’s salary ranges from $2,000-to $5,000 a month. 


Due to high demand, there are many job openings in engineering, and the hurdles in the Japanese language ability are low, so the ratio of foreigners is high overall.

Many major companies such as Rakuten and Mercari are actively hiring foreign engineers to keep their projects onshore, such as construction projects and automobile and electronic parts designers. 

The average salary is $5,500 per month. 


Japanese companies hunt for American tourists, students, and other short-term residents in the country for sales positions to reach the global market. These jobs are generally in finance, automobile, real estate, and electronic fields. 

Besides, foreign salespersons are often the face of the company to give the impression that they are multinational.

The average salary is $5,40 a month. 

Tour Operators  

JTB Tourism Research and Consulting Co. reported almost 3 million visitors in Japan from different countries in the first two months of 2020. This number was even higher before the COVID-19 pandemic. 

More than 140,000 Americans visited Japan in 2019, not including tourists from other English-speaking countries like Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom, and New Zealand. Japanese companies engaging in tourism hire foreign tour operators to offer tour packages to foreign visitors. 

The monthly average salary ranges between $2,500 to $8,000. 

Popular Cities for Jobs in Japan for Americans

If you are moving to Japan from the USA, you will have many choices for career opportunities because Japan is a big country. However, when being on the job hunt, it’s always better to start with the big cities first. In addition, you are likely to meet more Americans in these places, which is very helpful when you are a newcomer in the country. 

  • Tokyo. Tokyo, as a capital, is the economic hub in Japan, with plenty of high-tech jobs in Japan for Americans and other foreigners.  
  • Kobe. If you want a quieter but still a big enough city for employment opportunities, Kobe is your bet. If you are from the West Coast of the US, you will be pleasantly surprised to find many similarities, including advanced culture and city life. 
  • Osaka. This is an industrial town and can be perfect for occupations such as maintenance engineers, mechanics, stationary engineers, and many others. Although you’ll have to brush up on your Japanese to communicate with locals, it’s still a beautiful place to relax after work in the local bar. 
  • Kyoto. A bundle of traditional culture and ultra-modern amenities, Kyoto might be a good alternative to busy and noisy Tokyo. It homes the major college center, which means you have a good chance to find other English-speaking expats here. 

Jobs in Japan for Americans: Helpful Resources

If you are looking for a job in Japan, we advise that you check out the following resources. 

  • Fair Work Japan. This is a website to help you find a job by location, occupation, and level of Japanese language proficiency. 
  • Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) Program. This is the program to kick off for those interested in getting a teaching job in Japan.
  • Gajin Pot. Another very useful website for landing a job in Japan. You will come across many openings that don’t require the Japanese language level. 

Daijob.com. This website posts thousands of jobs in the IT sector. Some of them expect that you have at least basic knowledge of Japanese. But, of course, many companies are also on the lookout for foreigners who are dummies in Japanese.

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Jobs in Japan for Americans

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