Working abroad sounds like an adventure to many people. However, job search in Japan requires more than just the obvious Japan resume or Rirekisho writing and translation - it requires thorough preparation. You will experience problems that probably did not even come to your mind when you decided to get an employment in Japan.
Do not take too lightly the influence a job in Japan can have on the effect of your adventure! For instance, you will experience the different immigration rules and practices, strange job application procedures, unfamiliar candidate selection criteria and exotic management culture.
Most visits to Japan are trouble-free but you should be aware of the global risk of indiscriminate international terrorist attacks, which could be against civilian targets, including places frequented by foreigners.
Japan economy - overview: Government-industry cooperation, a strong work ethic, mastery of high technology, and a comparatively small defense allocation (1% of GDP) helped Japan advance with extraordinary rapidity to the rank of second most technologically powerful economy in the world after the US and the third-largest economy in the world after the US and China, measured on a purchasing power parity (PPP) basis.
One notable characteristic of the economy has been how manufacturers, suppliers, and distributors have worked together in closely-knit groups called keiretsu. A second basic feature has been the guarantee of lifetime employment for a substantial portion of the urban labor force. Both features have now eroded.
Japan's industrial sector is heavily dependent on imported raw materials and fuels. The tiny agricultural sector is highly subsidized and protected, with crop yields among the highest in the world. Usually self sufficient in rice, Japan must import about 60% of its food on a caloric basis. Japan maintains one of the world's largest fishing fleets and accounts for nearly 15% of the global catch.
For three decades, overall real economic growth had been spectacular - a 10% average in the 1960s, a 5% average in the 1970s, and a 4% average in the 1980s. Growth slowed markedly in the 1990s, averaging just 1.7%, largely because of the after effects of over-investment and an asset price bubble during the late 1980s that required a protracted period of time for firms to reduce excess debt, capital, and labor.
A sharp downturn in business investment and global demand for Japan's exports in late 2008 pushed Japan further into recession. Government stimulus spending helped the economy recover in late 2009 and 2010, but the economy contracted again in 2011 as the massive 9.0 magnitude earthquake in March disrupted manufacturing. Electricity supplies remain tight because Japan has temporarily shut down almost all of its nuclear power plants after the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear reactors were crippled by the earthquake and resulting tsunami.
Estimates of the direct costs of the damage - rebuilding homes, factories, and infrastructure - range from $235 billion to $310 billion, and GDP declined almost 1% in 2011. Prime Minister Yoshihiko NODA has proposed opening the agricultural and services sectors to greater foreign competition and boosting exports through membership in the US-led Trans-Pacific Partnership trade talks and by pursuing free-trade agreements with the EU and others, but debate continues on restructuring the economy and reining in Japan's huge government debt, which exceeds 200% of GDP.
Persistent deflation, reliance on exports to drive growth, and an aging and shrinking population are other major long-term challenges for the economy.
Labor force - by occupation: agriculture: 4.4%, industry: 27.9%, services: 66.4% (2005)
Unemployment rate: 4.8% (2011 est.), 4.2% (2008 est.), 5.4% (2002)
Natural resources: negligible mineral resources, fish
Industries: among world's largest and technologically advanced producers of motor vehicles, electronic equipment, machine tools, steel and nonferrous metals, ships, chemicals, textiles, processed foods
Currency: Japan Yen (JPY; symbol ¥). Notes are in denominations of ¥10,000, 5,000, 2,000 and 1,000. Coins are in denominations of ¥500, 100, 50, 10, 5 and 1
Credit/Debit Cards and ATMs: American Express, Diners Club, MasterCard, Visa and other major credit cards are widely accepted in towns. ATMs are available although only international banks accept foreign credit or debit cards, and these are hard to find outside of towns.
Traveler is Cheques: These can be exchanged at most major banks, larger hotels and some duty-free shops. To avoid additional exchange rate charges, travelers are advised to take traveler’s cheques in Japan Yen or US Dollars.
Exchange rates: Yen (JPY) per US dollar - 79.67 (2011 est.), 87.78 (2010 est.), 93.57 (2009), 103.58 (2008), 117.99 (2007), 116.18 (2006), 110.22 (2005), 108.19 (2004), 115.93 (2003), 125.39 (2002), 121.53 (2001), 107.77 (2000), 113.91 (1999), 130.91 (1998)
Inflation rate (consumer prices): 0.4% (2011 est.), 1.8% (2008 est.)
Other Japan Economy Info
We hope that your Japan job search has been successful and you will get Japan visa too. So, if your Japan cover letter and Japan resume or Rirekisho are ready, you may distribute them to your future employers and start preparing for a Japan job interview.
Good luck with the Japan economy info!