More than 100,000 international students are currently studying at universities, junior colleges, professional schools and other educational institutions in Japan. Their number has been increasing rapidly since the 1980s, with two thirds of the students coming from China. |
Short time studies at Japanese language schools are permitted on a tourist visa. All other foreign student in Japan need a student visa in order to study in Japan. Visa applicants require an educational institution as their sponsor in order to obtain a student visa.
Student visa holders are not allowed to engage in any paid activities, unless they get the permission of the school and the immigration office. Even then, students may work only a set maximum number of hours per week. Working on a tourist visa is prohibited.
Many foreign residents from English speaking countries, work in Japan as language instructors. The demand for native language instructors remains high, with some major language schools even operating recruitment offices overseas.
Other professional fields, in which qualified foreign residents have a good chance to find work, include translation, IT, modeling, gastronomy and entertainment. Being in Japan while job hunting and Japanese language ability are two keys to increase your chances of finding a job in Japan.
Foreign nationals, who wish to engage in paid activities in Japan, require a visa that allows them to work in Japan. It is not permitted to engage in any paid activities on a tourist visa.
Certificate of alien registration
If you're on holiday, working or studying, if your stay in Japan is over three months, you must apply for a certificate of alien registration from the local government office closest to the area in which you live. This small identification card includes your photograph and must be carried at all times; if you're stopped by the police on the street (even for innocuous activities such as riding a bike late at night through the city), you'll have to produce this card, or your passport. If you have neither, expect a trip to the local police station to do some explaining.
The JET programme
The Japan Exchange and Teaching Program seek to help enhance internationalization in Japan by promoting mutual understanding between Japan and other nations. The program also aims to improve foreign language education in Japan and to encourage international exchange at the local level by fostering ties between Japanese youth and foreign youth.
The objectives of the program are being achieved by offering JET Program participants, (hereinafter, participants) the opportunity to serve in local authorities as well as public and private junior and senior high schools.
As the JET Program has achieved an excellent reputation over the last 21 years, it is of great importance that this high level of respectability be maintained. Participants are invited to Japan as representatives of their countries. Therefore, they are expected to be responsible in all of their activities, especially those concerning the promotion of mutual understanding between nations. It is desirable that participants are adaptable and have a positive interest in Japan.
The following Web sites should help you if you want to find out more information about working or studying in Japan.
Studying Japanese language and culture
Japanese is considered a difficult language to learn. This is certainly true for native speakers of European languages, such as English, because Japanese is fundamentally different from European languages.
Compared to many European languages, basic Japanese grammar is relatively simple. Complicating factors such as gender articles and distinctions between plural and singular are missing almost completely. Conjugation rules for verbs and adjectives are simple and almost free of exceptions. Nouns are not declinated at all, but appear always in the same form. These facts make the language relatively easy for starting students.
As well as the language, there are opportunities to study other aspects of Japanese culture, from pottery to playing the shakuhachi (a traditional flute). In order to get a cultural visa , you'll need documents from the institutions where you plan to study, including one stating that all tuition fees have been paid, and a letter of guarantee from a private sponsor, preferably Japanese. Full-time courses are expensive, but once you have your visa you may be allowed to undertake paid work to support yourself.