Getting a visa to work in Japan is a rigorous process. First, for almost all situations, you must have a college degree. Second, you need a sponsor. And not, like, your parents signing off that you won’t break any Edo-era vases or something; You need a company in Japan with a certain amount of capital to vouch for you. Third, you need to pass immigration, which these days includes a fingerprint scan and a mugshot, in one of the worst privacy violations this side of… well, basically everything the NSA has ever done.
The extremely strict requirements for working and living in Japan have put a de facto cap on the number of foreigners legitimately making a living here, but this may change if Tokyo Governor Yoichi Masuzoe and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (reluctantly) have anything to say about it.
Masuzoe was recently quoted as pledging to make Tokyo a special district with relaxed immigration standards, to make the area more like Singapore – which is much more foreign labor-friendly – in order to boost Japan back into the economic spotlight after decades of a slumping economy.
The governor, widely regarded as overly conservative, even went so far as to say he’d like to relax the tax system and residential requirements so that foreign start ups are more at home in Tokyo.
We’ll be keeping an eye on Masuzoe’s actions in the near future to determine if he’s been replaced by a liberal doppleganger.