Special Supplements

Foreign Student Times

Japanese companies show increase in foreign hiring
Demand for foreign students in Japan
has been strong in recent years,
as Japanese companies have been assigning
local people to their overseas
branches after training in Japan.
Additionally, the boom in tourism
continues to spark demand for foreign
students in hotels, retail and other areas
of the hospitality industry.
The number of foreign students
granted working visas has risen for
six years in a row to 19,435 in 2016,
up 24.1 percent from 15,657 in 2015
and 12,958 in 2014. The peak before
the global recession in 2008 was
This does not necessarily mean all
foreign students land jobs easily.
What Japanese companies look for
in them are strong Japanese language
skills, a good understanding
of Japanese business etiquette and
communication and engineering degrees.
“Demand is particularly strong from
companies in the information technology
and engineering fields. Some of
those positions do not require high
Japanese skills,” said Takehiko Tsuda
of the Tokyo Employment Service
Center for Foreigners.
Non-Japanese often use the Japanese
Language Proficiency Test to objectively
test their Japanese skills.
The test is ranked from N5 to N1,
with N1 being the highest level.
“Some companies still look for
people with N1, but the recent trend
is that they look for skills equivalent
to N1, as they are aware that some
Japanese companies show increase in foreign hiring
foreign students can communicate in
Japanese without the certification,”
he said.
The center holds job fairs three
times a year. At the most recent one
in July, some 100 companies attended
the fair to meet roughly 1,815 foreign
job seekers in one day, up from
around 1,535 last year, according to
“I feel that an increasing number
of companies that have no experience
hiring foreigners are braving
the first step to hire them,” Tsuda
It is also said that foreign students
should work part-time in Japan to
learn about Japanese work culture.
Working while attending school is
not possible in many countries, but it
is possible in Japan, with regulations
allowing foreign students to work 28
hours a week and longer during summer
and winter vacations.