Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s work style reform policy has been causing a stir in the Japanese labor market for the last few months. In his effort to curb dangerously long work hours and remove unequal pay gaps, he is also promoting labor flexibility by encouraging workers to take secondary jobs.
In 2015, 5.3 million Japanese worked two jobs. In 2018, this number swelled to 7.4 million, or about 11% of the total workforce, according to Lancers Inc, one of Japan’s largest online freelancer job platforms.
Guidelines and models for companies to help them embrace a gig-style economy were put in place earlier this year, along with the removal of a labor ministry rule banning second jobs without the employer’s permission. Now, employees only have to inform their bosses before taking on another gig.
While Japanese companies have traditionally demanded 100% loyalty and monogamous commitment from their employees, more and more are changing their outlook in order to help current staff broaden their skillset, as well as attract new workers amid a labor shortage.
With the government actively encouraging people to have second jobs or work multiple part-time jobs, if you’re open to finding a side hustle in Japan now is the time to start looking.
Here are some of the most common, accessible and flexible side jobs for foreigners in Japan.
1. English Instructor
This may be one of the most popular side-jobs taken by foreigners living in Japan. English instructor or tutor positions are often flexible and may allow you to work from home, after regular work/school hours, or on weekends. Instructor job requirements may range from English play-time with nursery-school age children, to teaching primary or secondary school children, up to teaching business-level courses.
There’s also the private English lessons route where you teach as an independent freelancer via platforms like Hello Sensei or Eigo Pass. An Eikaiwa Cafe is another option, where English speakers will usually sit at a table at a designated café, then be joined by locals who engage in different interesting topics of conversation. Examples in Tokyo include Easy Eikaiwa or LeafCup English Café.
Potential earnings: ¥1,000 – ¥6,000 per hour
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