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Digital nomad workers in Japan move freely, with no fixed residences

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“since the cost of living (for nomad workers) is 300,000 yen”

That’s hardly accurate as it’s only the cost of accommodation, Internet, gas, and electricity. What about food, clothing and daily necessities, computers, transportation etc? Not to mention health insurance, income taxes, and residence taxes.

Which leads me to the questions I wish this article had touched on. How do these people handle the residence registration requirements? Where do they pay residence taxes? What municipality issues their health insurance card? Where do they have the right to vote? I may have more questions after I get some coffee but that’s a start.

19 ( +19 / -0 )

Which leads me to the questions I wish this article had touched on. How do these people handle the residence registration requirements? Where do they pay residence taxes? What municipality issues their health insurance card? Where do they have the right to vote? I may have more questions after I get some coffee but that’s a start.

This type of worker does not participate in a black and white salaryman world. Their world is grey and adaptable, they are free.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

This type of worker does not participate in a black and white salaryman world. Their world is grey and adaptable, they are free.

True, but it is definitely not for everyone. And Educator brings up some valid points, however some can be answered by these free-lancers, as they have to report their own income during tax season, and to do that they need a place of residence.

They also would need an official residence to get a passport as well, as they would need their koseki tohon to even apply for one, and on it is their official registered address. While they may not be actually living there, it is registered, and if they have no other residence, then that would be the one they would need to use for taxes and voting issues.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

@Educator60

They are simply trying to justify the real hidden trend that companies are capitalizing on. Placing people on limited and short term contracts in order to avoid benefits.

The cost between you paying your pension and health insurance versus having a company pay it with you is much different.

While there are pros there are also huge cons to this type of work.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Aside from the logistics of determining residency and such, I'd prefer working like this over a typical office. Traveling around Japan (and possibly even the world) to tele-work sounds pretty appetizing. I may do something similar to this in the not too distant future.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Having been freelance and contract working for decades I’m well aware of the pitfalls and advantages of that. But I’ve long wondered how the nomad type handle many of the details. I suppose many keep their registration at their parent’s home. But what happens if they are estranged from their parents, if the parents are no longer able or willing to forward their health insurance card which arrives in the mail, or that parental home no longer exists, etc? And if you’re a foreigner with no parental home here, well that’s a whole other kettle of fish.

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8 ( +8 / -0 )

25,000 a month is cheap. The thing I will say though is that those places are inaka and you will probably be screwed without a car. You'll also need an address and a parking space somewhere to buy one of them. Lots of people are in denial about how much cars actually cost, but even an old banger will likely do you for 25,000 yen a month.

I've freelanced and I've done well by it. Moving to the countryside, long holidays with work filed from overseas, accepting job enquiries in the ski gondola etc. Once you have kids though, you get tied down the same as everyone else. As someone who lives in the countryside, I would not want to live here without stuff. There's great skiing! Well you need gear. Mountain biking? You need stuff. Camping? You need stuff.... Grow vegetables? You need a plot and stuff. You can't do any of those things properly as a nomad with a rucksack full of hipster clothes and a Macbook. If you want to do outdoor things, you might as well move to inaka and get your own house.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

I’ve been in that lifestyle when I was single.

Paid 15.000 yen/month for a comfy 6-jo studio in Osaka but spent most of the month going around Japan in a Smart car or an Adiva 300, working while enjoying the most beautiful sceneries I could find, good times.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

finally richToday  09:36 am JST

“I’ve been in that lifestyle when I was single.

Paid 15.000 yen/month for a comfy 6-jo studio in Osaka”

In other words, you had your own address, regardless of how many days a month you spent there. Unlike what is portrayed in this article as people having “no fixed residences”. A different lifestyle actually.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Then there’s the seeming discrepancy between what’s advocated by Ichihashi, who moved almost every week, and says it’s “important to have the choice of continuing to move”, and the Liful facilities that are “cheap accommodations for a long-term stay” and the Bandai mayor who allows use of a town facility for long-term lodgers. One week certainly isn’t long-term.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I don't work but I've been traveling around the world for the last three years and leave before visa expiration, 90, 60 or 30 days usually. I interact with other Nomads, who work and it's ridiculous to suggest that they are not 'paying' into the system. These people are bringing money into countries and they do not require education, retirement, elderly care etc. They pay taxes with every purchase and rarely us the medical system.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

I'm not certain what fixed residence means. I provide an address that in many situtions is required. As far as 'needing stuff', it's true but it's also OK to have a very short term relationship with it. I have a backpack, that's it. Banking, investing, accommodations, etc is all done on my phone. LOL, life is good.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

“These people are bringing money into countries and they do not require education, retirement, elderly care etc. They pay taxes with every purchase and rarely us the medical system.”

You are saying they will never require retirement or elderly care? They’ll all die young or they’re magic people who rarely get ill or injured and never age? But I guess there’s always GOFundMe for those pesky emergencies.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

“I provide an address that in many situtions is required.”

Meaning you do have the use of an address provided by the non-nomadic lifestyle of someone else somewhere? Or do you give a fake address?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@Educator60

Your assumption that the only way to secure large sums of money is by asking others for a handout is false.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

It is not as easy as portrayed. Not even close.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Wow! I would love to try this for 6 months or a year. I have saved up a good nut after working in the corporate drudgery and I think I could sell my skills remotely and make enough to live a simple life.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

@Educator60

I imagine people resolve the 'address' issue in as many ways as we can imagine. There are services that receive snail mail, scan it and then forward it as a PDF. Some have friends, relatives, some use general delivery, there's lot's of options.

There is a difference between an address and residence. They are not always one and the same.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Working and being paid overseas generally requires a working visa; or was he under the immigration and tax office radar? There are many who come to Japan to work on 'projects', but are paid in their home country, by-passing the need for a working visa; I guess that is possible overseas as well?

3 ( +3 / -0 )

One way to ensure all these nomads, and indeed freelancers who can start companies and shift lots of things onto expenses, pay in is to shift taxation from income taxes to the consumption tax.

It doesn't matter whether that nomad stays under the radar or that designer or lodge owner or small scale farmer pays themself buttons to avoid income tax if you tax everyone every time they spend money. It's one reason why the government likes the consumption tax. I say this as someone who's been freelance for twenty years myself.

A high consumption tax hurts folks on fixed incomes, pensioners etc., and means taxing children, but hey, you can't make an omelette without breaking a few eggs.

If you asked the local mayor, I bet he would prefer one young person moving to his town and registering as a resident to twenty people living temporarily, even when its PR friendly reuse of an unused pork-barrel public building. One local resident will get him redistribution (koufuzei) money for services. One extra family could be the difference between the local school staying open and closing due to lack of pupils.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

"...Finland, where he took sauna baths.' So this nomad nerd had to go all the way to Finland to use a sauna?????

He needs to get out more!

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

The article makes it look like it is easy to make a living as a nomad when is actually not the case. The adage "A rolling stone gathers no moss" comes to mind.

Enough money is needed to live comfortably as a nomad and only those without responsibility can do it. Hope people don't think it is easy only to discover it isn't and resort to crime like the two japanese who murdered a taxi driver in cambodia to use the car to rob a money exchange.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

JustMyThoughtsToday  11:39 am JST

“Your assumption that the only way to secure large sums of money is by asking others for a handout is false.”

I never assumed that nor stated that I did, so don’t know where you’re going with that.

“There is a difference between an address and residence. They are not always one and the same.”

That’s obvious, no need to state it.

And yes, there are many services and options for receiving and forwarding mail. But, will they for instance, satisfy requirements for registering ones address in Japan, which as your know if you’ve ever lived here, must be registered with the local office every time you move and is what payments for national health insurance, residence taxes, etc are based on. And for non-tourist foreigners it is on the residence card that you are required to carry at all times. M

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0 ( +0 / -0 )

Living like a hobo. How very western.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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