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Japan's declining attractiveness from the perspective of foreign talent is starting to become reality. Companies must improve salaries and other benefits.


Motoki Yuzuriha, president of Mynavi Global, a Tokyo-based human resources company, on how to make Japan can an attractive place for foreigners to work despite its weak currency.

© Mainichi Shimbun

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Migrant workers are attracted to countries with strong currencies, so they can send more home to their families. The Yen is declining (although not as badly as Sterling). Both Japan and the UK are consequently suffering from labour and talent shortages. The situation isn't likely to improve any time soon, so get used to it.

10 ( +17 / -7 )

" In 2019, Japan ranked dead last out of 196 countries in inbound foreign investment - behind even North Korea!"

Source please.

9 ( +14 / -5 )

Not only the salaries but inefficiencies in the workplace and unwillingness to address them is also a huge problem. Not to mention only able to get 10 days of paid leave each time you change jobs.

8 ( +11 / -3 )

As far as workplace culture is concerned, it's a two-way street.

Yes, many Japanese companies are fixated on doing things the traditional Japanese way, and strongly reject any ideas or proposals otherwise, even if they're good ones. That's a problem when it comes to attracting (and retaining) foreign workers. I've known companies that have failed at this.

On the other hand, foreign workers need to resist feeling entitled about getting their own way. They are entering a foreign country and need to be open-minded about accepting the rules and expectations of that country's society and lifestyle, even if it clashes with their own. I've known foreign workers who have failed at this, also.

The point is, in order to successfully work together, both sides need to show more flexibility.

5 ( +9 / -4 )

Migrant workers are attracted to countries with strong currencies

Yes, GBR, but last time I checked, the GBP was around 192 yen. It's been as low as around 100. The pound is not really falling. So, it is maybe not fair to propose the currency value as a cause. The dearth of labour and talent in the UK has been about Brexit and anti-immigrant populism. Japan has the anti-immigrant tendency AND a weak currency.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Foreign investment matters little in Japan, where credit is very loose.

Most M & A is driven by asset stripping, so I think it is naive in the extreme to see foreign investment as a universal good. Rapid moving international capital only comes in to make a quick buck, not to build things up. To use it positively, you have to put limits on it like the Chinese.

As for foreign workers, forex as it stands is a major problem but may right itself in a year or two when US interest rates fall. The US too is in permanent decline and cannot support high interest rates in the long term. Apparently Japan is now the cheapest place in the world to buy branded handbags (Gucci etc.) This is an anomaly and nothing to do with fundamentals.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Yep. At a client manufacturing firm in Saitama they used to have a lot of Europeans but now my observation is that new hires are Indian and Brazilian. Even Chinese don’t want to work in Japan.

0 ( +6 / -6 )

By logic, when not only Japan but all countries cry out loud that they cannot find enough foreign experienced staff and gifted talents, then I would just simply say, that the reason for this is not a declining attractiveness but just the fact that there are not any available. lol

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

..starting too ??? Where have you been since 1997.

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

From the outside perspective, the salaries have become 50% lower than a few years ago due to the crash of the Japanese currency. Sadly, there is no more future for a foreigner in this country.

The pension rate is the lowest from all developed countries, basically you cannot retire in this country because of insufficient money. Also, Japanese people are the coldest and most introverted in the world, making a living here a real challenge for a Foreigner.

Basically, there is no longer any reason, as a Foreigner, to choose Japan over other countries, where salaries are at least double, and the working environment is way above.

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

 despite its weak currency.

Weak currency, check about work culture too please.

-6 ( +20 / -26 )

Let’s be honest. Nowadays, only Asians from poor countries and weebs want to work and permanently live in Japan. Japan is not an attractive place anymore.

I lived and worked in Japan for 7 years, and came back to Italy in 2019.

When I worked in Japan: unnecessary overtime; 10 days of paid leaves and very slow increase of paid leaves; low work-life balance.

Working conditions now in Italy: no unnecessary overtime and all overtime hours automatically become additional hours I can use as paid leaves (so, every 8 hours of overtime I have 1 additional day of vacation); 32 days paid leaves from the beginning; 6 days of work from home every month; great work-life balance.

Yes, the EU countries have many problems and are not heaven, but when speaking about salary, work conditions, and work-life balance are better than Japan.

The ’80 and ’90 years, the years of “strong Japan” are only memories.

-7 ( +18 / -25 )

Lethargic and inefficient banking system, low quality housing, excessive bureaucracy, import/ export difficulties, crowded transportation system...

It's not just working in Japan, it's living here and having a decent work/ life balance.

-10 ( +9 / -19 )

A major part of the puzzle is that Japanese society is not yet ready to integrate with foreign ideas or foreigners as that (it is believed) would dilute the ‘Japaneseness’ of society.

The present paradigm is have young foreigners spend a limited time in country, work in a san K job and return home.

Most young Japanese make their way to Tokyo as the supply of jobs and wealth are concentrated there.

However, Japan wants foreigners to accept the dregs in some rural backwater and be happy about it-they won’t…

-11 ( +20 / -31 )

The author is still under the illusion that Japan is a powerhouse. With the economy and the yen sinking each year, it will only attract the poorest workers who cannot get into countries that pay better unless there are massive structural changes that the current government is completely incapable of enacting.

Foreigners will eventually come, but as bosses, not employees. In 2019, Japan ranked dead last out of 196 countries in inbound foreign investment - behind even North Korea!

The shrinking cost of labor will attract foreign investment interest, not workers.Japan will offer the benefits of cheap labor associated with developing countries but few of the developing country problems that usually come with it. That's how it will recover.

But even for that, the government has to get out of the way. So far, they show no intention of doing so.

-13 ( +13 / -26 )

Forget the weak currency. Who wants to work in a country with such a rigid, toxic and stressful work culture? Not to mention discriminatory and xenophobic. I'll keep my 7-hour workdays and 4-week paid hols thank you very much.

-13 ( +12 / -25 )

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