New Zealand Embassy Tokyo, Japan

Living in Japan

Employment, visas, taxation

Some 3,000 New Zealanders are currently living and working in Japan, engaging in a variety of professions. Perhaps most noticeably, a significant number work as English teachers, both under the Japanese Government’s Japan Exchange and Teaching Programme (JET), and under private contracts.


Information about Japan

Making the transition to living and working in Japan will be made considerably easier by doing some research before coming. Read up on Japan’s culture, countryside, attractions and lifestyle in one of the many guide books available. For an insight on life in Tokyo, Japan Today and Metropolis magazine may be of interest. Talk to people who have lived in Japan, and consider joining one of the many Japan Societies found throughout New Zealand.

Job hunting in Japan

There are a number of internet-based employment search engines, and major English language newspapers such as The Japan Times and The Daily Yomiuri have weekly situations vacant sections. Some Japan-based organisations recruit in New Zealand.

The links below are intended as an indicative introduction only. In addition to situations vacant sections, some sites contain useful general information about job hunting and living in Japan.

The Japan Times
Tokyo Employment Service Centre for Foreigners
Osaka Employment Service Centre for Foreigners

JET Programme

The JET Programme is aimed at promoting grass-roots international exchange between Japan and other nations, and places participants from a number of countries in schools and local governments around Japan. New Zealand has been a participating country since the Programme’s inception, and each year numbers of New Zealanders come to Japan to take up positions under the Programme.

Hostessing in Japan: cautionary advice

The Embassy cautions New Zealand women considering employment in bar or night club hostessing work in Japan of the potential risks, which include personal safety concerns and the prospect of breaking Japanese immigration laws. The Japanese Working Holiday Visa specifically prohibits employment at "bars, nightclubs, hostessing and host clubs, gambling establishments and other similar premises." It is illegal to undertake any paid work in Japan as a visitor. We advise New Zealanders to be wary of agents for hostess bars who actively recruit foreign women overseas.

Visas for Japan

Japan visa and immigration information is provided on the Japan Immigration Bureau and Japan Ministry of Foreign Affairs websites.

If you are in New Zealand and have specific Japan visa or immigration queries, please contact the Japanese Embassy, Consulate-General, or Consular Office in New Zealand.

If you are in Japan and have specific Japan visa or immigration queries, please contact your local Japan Immigration Office.


Please visit the New Zealand Inland Revenue website for information about tax status for New Zealanders living overseas.

For information on taxation in Japan, please visit the Japan National Tax Agency website.

Employment troubles

New Zealand citizens contemplating employment in Japan are urged to exercise their commonsense when entering into any employment contract, to investigate potential employers prior to signing on, and if possible talk to current or past employees of the potential employer. Never surrender your passport or outward airline ticket to an employer.

The Embassy cannot enter into disputes, conduct an investigation, or provide legal advice to New Zealand citizens who experience contractual mishaps. The Embassy cannot investigate or endorse employers. It is up to each individual to evaluate a potential employer before signing a contract.

The following services provide advice on employment-related issues:
Tokyo Labor Consultation Centers

Consultation available in English at Iidabashi main office, tel 03-5211-2346 (Mon-Fri 2:00-4:00pm)

Osaka Labour Bureau

List of Regional Labour Offices (Japanese)

Legal Counselling for Foreigners, Tokyo Bar Association

Tel 03-5367-5280 or 03-3580-2851
Counselling is available in English, although reservations are accepted in Japanese only.

List of English-speaking Legal Service Providers


The New Zealand Embassy, Tokyo, makes no warranty, express or implied, nor assumes any legal liability or responsibility for the accuracy, correctness, completeness or use of any information contained in external websites mentioned in this section. Nor does the New Zealand Embassy, Tokyo, accept any liability for loss or damage (including consequential loss or damage), however caused, which may be incurred by a person or organisation arising from reliance on or use of information contained in this section.

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