Quitting your job in Japan


There may come a time when you want to either change or quit your job in Japan. Breaking a contract in any job might generally leave you feeling concerned about the consequences, both short and long term, but doing so in another country can seem quite daunting.

In my case, I recently quit my job with an eikaiwa (English conversation school). Please be sure to do your own research about your specific situation, but I will try to provide some tips here about what I’ve experienced that could help you feel at least a little more at ease.

DO try to leave on as good of terms as possible with your current company. As long as you give at least two weeks notice, the company is required by law to pay you for all of the time you worked. If it’s possible to give more notice, that might be even more helpful. You may very well need to contact your company in the future for paperwork (ie. tax documents, letter of release, which may or may not be needed right away, etc.), so it’s good not to burn bridges.

DON’T feel intimidated by your employer when quitting. Threats may be made, especially concerning immigration, but these are empty. They may “terminate your sponsorship,” but you have your visa anyway, and immigration will not bother with changing its validity unless you’ve done something drastic, like commit a crime. Simply change over the sponsorship when you do have the opportunity.

DO try to set up another job before giving notice to your current one. The new company can help take care of things for you, including paperwork, health insurance, changing addresses and immigration. Additionally, you’re only allowed to stay in Japan for three months without working.

DON’T leave Japan without settling your affairs here first. If you ever want to come back, you must make sure that you’ve taken care of your taxes. If you leave without notice, you will still be charged taxes as if you had continued to live at your current address- if these are not paid on time, fines will be imposed, to be paid upon your arrival in Japan. That being said, as long as you come back to Japan within a year, you’re still allowed to look for a job.

Quitting a job is always a hassle, and Japan is no exception to this rule, but hopefully you can breathe a bit easier knowing a bit more about what to expect.

© Japan Today

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For 6 yrs in my job i never had inclination to quit but my good sacho told me to take a vacation for sometime coz its hima (slowing down) of its demand. Assured me to return to work when it is busy.i waited for months but to no avail. Until i gave up but i need s ome little gratis for my loyalty but was never compensated. I went to authorities concerned to complain but my complaints was twisted in favor to the company.If you are a mere worker are gaijin speak little nihonggo you have a little chance to ask what is due to you. Hope your advice will be effective to others who desire to continue serving this country. Am now 65 yrs old and had difficulty finding a job. Thank you.anyway no regret for such experience. Am a sansei from Okinawa.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Good common sense stuff, especially the advice about visas.

2 ( +3 / -1 )


Yeah, a more complete article by a lawyer or at least someone in HR would have been better.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

A good article, but my advice is to check the visa information a little more carefully, for example if you move after leaving your old job you have only 2 weeks to inform immigration of your new address, and the 3 month figure quoted in the article is the absolute limit, and you really want to get the paperwork started by the 2 month mark or immigration might get a little tetchy.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I left for 9 months to work outside Japan. When I came back, I eventually got the tax bill mentioned above, but not right at the moment I arrived (the article makes it sound like they hand you a bill at the airport -- is that even possible?). Anyway, I went to the local tax office and talked to them. They let me file a belated tax return claiming various expenses and proving that I had no income in Japan while I was away. As a result, my tax bill was negated. I haven't dealt with Immigration directly (my new employer hired a judicial scrivener to do that). I think there are a lot of ins and out to this process, but it is generally wise to go talk to Immigration before making a change (or move) and to save your expense receipts and end-of-the-year salary adjustment slips for dealing with the tax office.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

She loves discovering and taking photos of hilarious English fails on public signage.

Oh dear.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Rose Kina KinaNOV. 09, 2012 - 12:02PM JST .. Am a sansei from Okinawa.

you are a 3rd generation Okinawan?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Hi everyone,

Thought I'd share my experience with all of you which is still in the making.

I am a Japanese Australian landed in the countryonn a highly skilled foreign professional visa in 2014, sponsored by the local setup of a French insurance company. 15 months into my tenure, I'm finally sick and tired of the endless bullshit and slougen shouting when it comes to getting things done, and decided it's time to move on.

Long story short, after 2 months looks around in secrecy, one of their direct competitor offered me a role at the same level, after which I envoked the process to have my current contract terminated.

Upon hearing my request to quit, the manager acted somehow outraged stating that the resignation needs to be approved by upper management and the final date of service is to be dicided from there, which I felt was but of bullshit since my contract States a minimum notice period of 14 days is required.

Trying not to burn the bridge, I agreed that while the final day of service is open to negotiation, I reserve the full right to say yes or no. Of course I have my 2 alternative options being state a hard date and stick to it, or simply disappear for 50 days in which case the employment will be cancelled automatically.

Immigration matter was not an issue in my case since the new company has been very active getting the paperwork ready for the switch over.

I'll keep you guys posted of my experience, but I had to agree with the author that the manager here will make quitting a very intimidating experience for you.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

It's wierd the way that they put the pressure on to stop you quitting if its inconvenient to them. 'You can't quit until we say so', they say. Shouting, threats, the works - but never an offer of a pay increase or anything like that.

Makes parting on good terms rather more of a challenge than was the case for me in my own country.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

A lot of contracts, especially those of eikaiwa jobs seem to have stated the required time for the notice nowadays, probably because there have been problems in the past. Unfortunately a lot of those have 3 or even 4 months as a requirement which - especially for foreigners - can be difficult sometimes. I think 2 months sounds realisitc.

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I still work for a small Eikaiwa and I recently submitted my termination notice. They are giving me a hard time about it.

I came to Japan in December of 2012, after I applied to a small Eikaiwa in September of the same year. I agreed to (which was probably stupid) do the Eikaiwa job as well as a job at a wedding place to, according to my boss, ensure my salary.

So I started doing that from 22.2.2013.

At some points I have been insulted and shouted at by my bosses for the stupidest reasons leaving me with the feeling of quitting once I find a better, new job.

Time jump, until the beginning of October they didn't make a contract with me. At that time I was working every weekend at the wedding place and 4 days during the week at the Eikaiwa for a meager 180000 Yen per month. In my contract, as many others in the forum also experienced, they stated a termination time of 90 days in advance. It also states nothing about weddings. The contract was open ended. Not for a year or anything. I read the law that states 14 days of notice are sufficient and stated that out to my boss who refused to change the contract so I shrugged and signed it.

In the middle of March this year I got wind of another job (with better working conditions more free time and a higher salary), meeting everybody at the 28th. They told me I could have the job if I start before April 20th, so I accepted and handed my termination notice to my boss on the 31st, to quit after the 14th.

First they claimed the contract is valid and said I cant quit. Then they tried to at least force me to do the wedding job and explain my personal situation to all other teachers of the Eikaiwa (matters that concern me as well as my girlfriend with whom I live together). I didn't rule out the possibility of helping them because I was a bit scared they might end up sueing me.

The next day they asked me AND my girlfriend to sign a vow in which I should promise to help them with weddings until the end of the 90 days. Of course I didn't sign anything, told them that and went to the labour office. According to the labour office my termination is valid under the law and me beginning a new job the next day is not against any law. They might try to claim compensation but according to the office its unlikely.

After that my boss somehow found out about the new place I will start working from 15th, called them and tried to arrange that they won't let me work there unless I help out at the weekend. According to my new workplace however no matter what we decide I will start working for them.

So of course I refused to sign any documents after which they called me a liar, wanting another meeting, and when I said goodbye to everybody at the wedding place my boss called me and shouted at me asking me if I didn't want my new work after all, hinting at that my new workplace would refuse to give me the job. So this week on Monday I went to the work office again, told them everything after which the boss of the office himself called my boss to tell her that what she is doing is power harassment and illegal. Before he got to call her my boss actually made the two and a half hour trip to talk to the people at my new workplace, now saying she knows I quit legally but that she would take legal actions against me if I dont help.

After she got the call from the work office she had to call and retract all her statements and promise to refrain from doing anything like that.

She didn't only embarrass me and herself by contacting and going to my new workplace, she also threatened the future of my girlfriend (who is pregnant right now which my boss knows) and my own with her actions.

She still claims to take legal actions if I don't help during the 90 days or don't go to the meeting, even though she might now actually lose the contract with the wedding place distributor for not informing the staff manager about me quitting.

Of course I said no and refused to go to any meeting that would take place outside my working hours.

I am not concerned since I read in many forums and other websites that these are usually empty threats that lead to nowhere. Still I want to share this experience with you.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

whenever we have leavers at work one thing they never do is tell you where they are moving to. Can never figure out why it is such a big secret.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

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