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TIME TO HIRE 24 hours

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Hire Employees in Japan — Overview

For decades, Japan has been an economic powerhouse of the Asia-Pacific region. A range of free-trade agreements, both regionally and with North America and Europe ensure that Japan retains its spot as a major source of industrial manufacturing and innovation.

When it comes to hiring employees, Japan presents a highly skilled, industrious workforce — an ideal location for tech company expansion, in particular. This coupled with a business-friendly and predictable regulatory framework makes Japan an ideal location for international hiring.

Facts & Stats


125.7 million 68.7M labor force)

Capital City


Languages Spoken

Japanese, Ainu (indigenous)


Japanese Yen (JPY, ¥)

GDP per capita

$36,200 (USD)

Ease of Doing Business

29th in the world

Minimum Wage


Average Wage


Paid Leave

10 days

Japan: Business Environment

Business outlook in Japan

The most important piece of employment legislation in Japan is the Labour Standards Act (LSA) of 1947. This is the principal statute that governs the employment relationship and such matters as wages, annual leave, working time, discrimination, maternity rights and termination of employment.

Other significant labour legislation includes:

  • the Labour Contract Act
  • the Trade Union Act and
  • the Employment Security Act

Japanese labour law is further supported by collective agreements, ordinances and work rules.

Business culture in Japan

When doing business in Japan respect for age and hierarchy is very important and bowing to seniors is seen as a sign of respect. In initial meetings, the exchange of business cards is to be expected and trust is highly valued when entering business relationships. Decisions commonly require approval from many layers within an organisation first.

Recruiting employees in Japan

Recruiting employees in Japan — Overview

Many companies in Japan recruit candidates through a process known as shinsotsu. Here, graduates from prestigious universities are sought by employers to fill specialized positions based on their character and potential rather than on their skills and experience.

Job boards and recruitment agencies are other methods commonly used to hire employees in Japan.

The three most important recruitment tools in Japan

  • GaijinPot Jobs

    GaijinPot is the largest recruitment and lifestyle website for foreigners in Japan and people overseas interested in working in Japan.
  • CareerCross

    CareerCross is an online recruitment website specializing in online recruitment for bilingual talent for international companies.
  • Rikunabi

    Rikunabi is one of the oldest job-hunting portals in Japan and is the largest recruitment site for new graduates in Japan.

Interviewing candidates in Japan

Interviewing candidates in Japan — Overview

Workplace culture in Japan places priority on business etiquette and showing respect for customs. This will likely include behaviours such as bowing, exchanging appropriate greetings, and waiting to be seated. If business cards are exchanged they should be presented and received with both hands.

Punctuality is essential in Japan as tardiness is considered rude and may disqualify a candidate from being hired. Unlike some western countries where skills and accomplishments are confidently expressed, in Japan these should be stated more modestly. Employers in Japan tend to take a more collectivist approach when hiring, where the candidate’s suitability and benefit to the company and its culture are given greater weight than the emphasis placed on independence and individuality, as is the case in some other parts of the world.

Can I ask the candidate’s previous salary in Japan?

While this question may be asked in an interview, it is unlikely as the issue of salary is a sensitive topic in Japan. It is more likely that the candidate will be asked what their desired annual salary is.

What is the typical salary increase at a new job in Japan?

Economic conditions in Japan following the COVID-19 pandemic coupled with its inability to free itself from decades of deflation have led to little to no salary increases among job changers.

Onboarding employees in Japan

Onboarding employees in Japan — Overview

Before a new employee joins an organization, the employer must provide a variety of documents to the appropriate authorities within certain deadlines. For example, the application forms enrolling an employee into the company’s health and pension insurance must be submitted to the Japan Pension Service within five days of their start date.

To ensure the smooth integration of new employees into your organization it is good practice to prepare an induction program that equips them with the information, training and resources they need to become confident and productive members of your business.

Best remote working tools to use in Japan

Below are three of the best remote working tools to used by employees in Japan:

  • RemoteView
    This remote cloud-based tool allows employees to connect to and control their office computer remotely giving them access to public folders, shared files, printers, and other software installed on their work computer.
  • Slack
    This cloud-based collaboration and team interaction software is designed to facilitate communication in the workplace. Slack provides each person in an organisation with access to the same information helping teams to stay connected and updated allowing faster and more efficient decision-making.
  • Zoom
    This communication tool offers employees online video conferencing, the ability to hold virtual team meetings via video or audio calls and enables the hosting of live webinars, video demos, online training and more.

Holiday season in Japan— 2023

Japan observes 16 national holidays in 2023. The dates are as follows:


DateHoliday name
1 Jan SundayNew Year’s Day
2 Jan MondayDay off for New Year’s Day
9 Jan MondayComing of Age Day
11 Feb SaturdayNational Foundation Day
23 Feb Thursday Emperor’s Birthday
21 Mar TuesdaySpring Equinox
29 Apr SaturdayShōwa Day
3 May WednesdayConstitution Memorial Day
4 May ThursdayGreenery Day
5 May FridayChildren’s Day
17 Jul MondaySea Day
11 Aug FridayMountain Day
18 Sep MondayRespect for the Aged Day
23 Sep SaturdayAutumn Equinox
9 Oct MondaySports Day
3 Nov FridayCulture Day
23 Nov ThursdayLabor Thanksgiving Day

What is the typical salary increase employees in Japan expect?

A survey by Tokyo Shōkō Research reveals that the average annual salary in 2021 for over 3,000 listed companies was ¥6.05 million. This amounts to a year-on-year salary increase of ¥104,000, or 1.7%.


It is possible to hire both freelancers or full-time employees in Japan and the decision will largely depend on the needs of your business.

Traditionally, a country of lifetime employment, Japan is gradually embracing freelancing as an alternative form of employment. A freelancer may be suitable for short-term projects and can be a more affordable way to manage your staff compared to hiring full-time employees. Start-ups and other businesses that need to keep their costs down would, therefore, benefit from hiring freelancers.

However, in a country where company employment is valued, employees may be viewed as more reliable and likely to show greater commitment and loyalty to their work and to the company itself.

Yes, however, you must comply with all relevant regulations pertaining to hiring foreigners. When hiring foreign employees in Japan, you must check if they have the correct visa/status of residence to live and work in Japan. There should be no issue in hiring a foreigner if they hold one of the following types of visa:

  • Permanent Resident
  • Long-Term Resident,
  • Spouse or Child of National, or
  • Spouse or Child of Resident
  • In cases where the candidate’s visa does not match the job duties they are being hired for, you must sponsor them to change their visa status.
Foreign companies wishing to expand their business operations in Japan can either establish a branch office or a local subsidiary company in the form of Kabushiki Kaisha (KK) or a Godo Kaisha (GK) company. There are various legal formalities that must be met to set up such an entity. Horizons can help you to seamlessly and compliantly establish your business presence in Japan through a local subsidiary or branch in strict accordance with all relevant regulations. You can find out more here.

It is common practice in Japan to hire top-level candidates at graduate level from prestigious universities. Online job posting sites and recruitment agencies are other methods through which employees can be hired.

Horizon’s PEO services offer a solution to your recruitment needs by connecting you with top talent in Japan from across every industry, helping you to expand your business operations and support your international growth.

Hiring in Japan, Made Easy

Your business can easily hire employees in Japan without opening a local entity. We handle local employment law, complex tax regulations, and international payroll in 180+ countries worldwide. All you need to do is focus on your business.

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