社団法人東京都専修学校各種学校協会
I. International Student Acceptance Policies in Japan and the Current Status II. The Japanese Education System III. Study Abroad in Japan IV. Living in Japan V. Options after Graduation VI. Contact Information VII. List of Graduate Schools, Universities, Professional Training Colleges, 
and Japanese Language Institutes
  IV. Living in Japan   
  Site Map   
 
 IV. Living in Japan
Living in Japan for a long time would be the first experience for most of the college / pre-college students from abroad. The living environment in Japan, such as climate, weather, and customs, might be very different from those of your country / region. It is necessary for you to know such situations in Japan in order to enjoy your life as well as to be successful in Japan.
 
  1.  Accommodations
  As you are going to live and study in Japan for a long time, it is important to find a good apartment as the center of your life. It is recommended for you to consult well with your relatives living in Japan, friends, acquaintances, or personnel at the educational institution that you are going to attend to find a good accommodation.
Unlike international student houses, general apartment rooms are not usually equipped with furniture. You will have to either purchase or rent it.

(1) How to Rent an Apartment
When you look for an accommodation after entering Japan, you are going to have to ask around real-estate agencies that will make necessary arrangements for you when you have found a good one. In that case, there are some unique business practices in Japan such as “Deposit,” “Key Money,” and “Guarantor,” which makes it difficult for non-Japanese people. It would be better if you could get someone accustomed to it to accompany you.

1) Approximate Rent
There is a big gap between the rents in the metropolitan areas and rural cities. Moreover, they differ, even within the metropolitan areas, depending on the distance to the nearest downtown or size of the room.
The approximate rent for an apartment (about 10m²) with a small kitchen and a prefabricated bath (Western hotel style), and taking about 30 minutes to the nearest downtown by train, could be around 50–60 thousand yen per month in the metropolitan areas, and around 40 thousand yen per month in the rural cities. If an apartment has a regular kitchen and a bathroom (about 20m² in total) could cost about double of it.
In order to rent an apartment, you will have to make a few kinds of payments such as deposit and key money. It depends on the area or property, but it would be safe for you to assume that you will need an amount of money equivalent to six or seven months of the monthly rent in total when you sign the contract. Moreover, you will have to pay the real-estate agency the commission (usually a month of the rent) when the contract has been successfully closed. Recently, some properties have been waiving or charging only very small security deposits for foreign renters.

2) Lease Agreement and Precautions
Once the negotiation has successfully closed between the tenant and the landlord, with a real-estate agent in-between, a lease agreement will be prepared. The agreement requires your seal (or signature). You should study the contents of the agreement carefully before sealing (or signing) the contract.
At the same time, most of the lease agreements require a guarantor (cosigner). The guarantor must be a person who makes an independent living. The guarantor will have to pay for the rent if the tenant cannot for some reason.
In addition, since most of the agreements are written only in Japanese, it is recommended that you get the guarantor or a Japanese person to represent the guarantor to accompany you.

   
  Average Expenses of International Students / month (unit: Yen)
Nationwide 140,000
By Region Tokyo 157000
Hokkaido 122,000
Tohoku 113,000
Kanto 155,000
Chubu 126,000
Kinki 139,000
Chugoku 123,000
Shikoku 110,000
Kyushu 122,000

Average Expenditure by Category (unit: Yen)
Study or research expenses 48,000
Commuting expenses 4,000
Meal expenses 27,000
Housing expenses 34,000
Electricity, gas, and water charges 8,000
Health insurance and medical costs 3,000
Hobbies and entertainment expenses 5,000
Other everyday expenses 7,000
Amount leftover 7,000
*Data source: “Lifestyle Survey of Privately Financed International Students, 2013” by the Japan Student Services Oraganization, Student Exchange Department
   
 

(2) Precautions on Living Customs in Japan
Because of the differences in lifestyles in Japan and in your country, there might be unexpected troubles with your landlord or neighbors. Please be aware of Japanese living customs.

i) Maintenance of the Room
If you break or ruin the room or equipment, you have to pay for the repair. Also, when you move out the apartment, you have to clean the room at your cost just as it was when you first rent it.

ii)Sharing Apartment, Noise, etc.
In Japan, in general, only one person is allowed to live in an apartment. Therefore, sharing the room with other people is not allowed not only by the contract but also by the custom. It is also prohibited to make too much noise, or to cook or store things in common areas such as the hallway.

   
 
  2.  Daily Life
 

(1) Precautions for Using Seals
There are many situations to use seals instead of signatures in Japan. Sealing is as effective as signatures in other countries. Please be careful of handling your seals, especially the one you use for your bank account.

(2) Medical Services

1) Medical System in Japan
You will have to visit a medical institution if you need to see a doctor for a sickness or injury.
Hospitals in Japan are roughly categorized into general, specialized and private hospitals, and you should judge which one to go according to the kind of sickness or injury and the symptoms. It would be better to ask your neighbors who have lived there for a long time which one to choose in the neighborhood.
Most medical institutions do not require reservations. However, many dental clinics do not see patients without reservations, so it is better to find out in advance.”

(i) Seeing a doctor in foreign language
Most of the medical doctors understand English language, but receptionists usually speak only Japanese language. If you are not able to speak Japanese yet, please ask someone who can help you communicate with them to accompany you. If you would like to be treated in your mother tongue to feel easier, it would be better that you search for such a medical institution in advance.

(ii) National Health Insurance Program
The national health insurance program has been designed for the purpose of mutual assistance to support each other’s medical costs in case of sickness or injury by collecting money regularly.
Japan requires that all residents be subscribed to health insurance. All non-Japanese individuals living in Japan on a “student” visa are subscribed to national health insurance regardless of their intended length of stay.
Once you enroll in the program, you must pay the health insurance expense. The amount differs depending on the district you reside in and your income, but usually it is around 25,000 yen per year.
Just in case you have a sickness or injury, the insurance covers 70 % of the medical cost if you indicate the national health insurance card at the medical institution. Please make sure you submit the application form for the national health insurance right after you have finished your foreign registration at the municipal office of your district.

(3) Part-time Job
If youhave obtained “Permission to Engage in Activity Other Than That Permitted under the Status of Residence Previously Granted,” you can work part-time within 28 hours per week provided that the work does not interfere with your original purpose of coming to Japan and the work is not a prohibited type or not conducted in a prohibited location. (Maximum length of time: Within 8 hours per day). However, you are not allowed to work in a business of entertainment and amusement or where such business is partially involved, such as bars or cabarets.
Please note that if you work without a permit to engage in activities other than those authorized, or when you have worked beyond the limitation of permit, you will be punished for other than those authorized without permit, and you may be subject to conviction as an illegal worker and may be expelled from Japan.

   
 

1) What to be Aware of When Working Part-time
(i) Write down the work conditions as much as possible and keep it.
It would beideal if you could receive a written “employment agreement” from the employer when you start working part-time, but such a procedure is not common in Japan.
Therefore, it is recommended you ask the person in charge of employment at the first job interview to write down the days of work, working hours, contents of work, salary, payday, name of the person in charge of employment, and their telephone number, after stating that “I do not want to misunderstand anything since my Japanese is not good enough”.
If the person in charge would not write it down for you, you should do it yourself, and then get the person to confirm it afterwards. Such notes will prevent unwanted troubles caused by misunderstanding and will serve as evidence in case of trouble.
If you found the job in the newspaper or information magazine, please keep the cut-out of the classified ad.

(ii) Record the number of hours you worked and the amount of salary you received.
In order to prevent such troubles as unpaid salary, you should record the dates and hours you worked and the amount of salary you received.

(iii) Do not be late or absent without notice.
It is not acceptable for you to be late or absent without calling in your work even though you are a part-time worker. You should communicate about it in advance.

2) How to Find a Part-time Job
(i) Introduction from student affairs department at school
Some schools offer job introductions at their departments for student affairs or student welfare. Please inquire at such departments directly.

(ii) Using part-time job magazines and classified ads in newspapers
Part-time job magazines and classified ads in daily newspapers provide information on part-time job vacancies. These are easily available at book stores or KIOSK. However, most of such classified ads are not targeting foreign residents, so you should keep asking around patiently.

(iii) You can also use the Hellowork
The Public Employment Security Offices (Hellowork) can also introduce part-time jobs. International students can use the service if there is a suitable job for you. Please visit the offices with your permit for engaging activities other than those authorized.

3) In Case of Trouble at Part-time Work
The more international students work part-time, the more troubles such as injury at work or that the promised salary is not received have become noticeable. If any trouble has happened at work, please discuss with the person in charge first. Please consult with a counseling organization if you cannot find the resolution with the discussion.

(i) In case of accident during part-time work
Accidents during part-time work and on your ways between home and work can be covered by the worker’s compensation law, regardless of the nationality of the victim.
If any accident has happened at work, please notify the person in charge and receive a medical treatment. If you were involved in a traffic accident in the street, please report to the police for sure, as well as receiving a medical treatment. Handling of the case will be discussed after the treatment. If you could not receive enough treatment or the damage were not compensated for reasons such as the person in charge at work lacked understanding, please consult with a counseling organization.

(ii) Counseling organization for troubles
If a problem arises that cannot be solved independently by an employee and their employer together, there are specialized institutions that will provide support until a solution is reached. The Labor Bureau has offices in each prefecture staffed by labor standards inspectors. Many of these offices have personnel available who can handle inquiries by foreign residents. If you have any job-related problems, such as non-payment of wages, feel free to visit your nearest labor standards inspection office to discuss your options.
(List of the Labor Standards Inspection Office Locations:
http://www.mhlw.go.jp/bunya/roudoukijun/location.html)

4) About Taxes
Income tax might be deducted from your salary when it is paid. The taxation systems are completely different in each county or social system. Here is a summary of Japanese taxation system.

(i) Two kinds of taxes concerning part-time work: national tax and local tax
The tax deducted from the salary for your part-time job is a national tax called “income tax”. It is paid by employing companies or shops to the country (at tax offices) on behalf of the employees. The amount of “income tax” differs depending on the amount of salary. As for work such as translation, 10 % of the total fee is usually deducted as the withholding tax (if you are staying in Japan for more than one year). For those who stay in Japan for less than one year or a one-time payment is over a million yen, 20 % of withholding tax is deducted from the payment. Then, the annual total of the paid “income tax” is reported to the municipal office of the district you live in, and a local tax, either “prefectural tax” or “municipal tax”, is separately charged based on the amount of your income tax.

(ii) National tax is finally determined based on the total income in the year (from January through December)
While the income tax to be paid to the country is deducted from your salary every time you receive payment, the definite amount of annual tax is determined based on the total income in a year. Therefore, between the middle of February and the middle of March every year, the final amount is determined when you declare the balance between the amount of tax you have paid (withholding tax) and the actual amount of tax based on the amount of final income (net taxable amount) which is calculated by deducting the necessary expenses from your total income. This procedure is called “Final Tax Return”. If you have paid too much tax, the balance will be returned when you file the final tax return.

(iii) Filing the “final tax return” at the tax office in your district between the middle of February and the middle of March every year
You are file the “final tax return” at the tax office that has jurisdiction over the district you live in. Please ask for the location of the tax office at the municipal office if you cannot find it. In order to file the final tax return, you go to the tax office, receive a final tax return form, fill it out and submit it there. If it is the first time or you do not understand how to fill it out, personnel at the tax office will take care of you. You can just go to the tax office with the “withholding record of employment income” (issued by the source of the income) and consult with the personnel.

   
 
  3.  Scholarship System
 

There are several kinds of scholarships for international students: Japanese Government (the Japanese Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology) Scholarship which offers students 123,000 yen per month, Honors Scholarship for Privately-Financed International Students which offers financial aid (usually 48,000 yen per month) to foreign students who are financially disadvantaged and excel academically, and other scholarships by some schools.

(1) Scholarships Awarded by Japanese Government
a. Japanese Government (the Japanese Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology) Scholarship
There are four types of scholarships, for undergraduate students, college of technology students, specialized training college students, and Japanese studies students, and their disbursement periods and selection methods vary. Prospective applicants should contact the Japanese embassy in their home country or region for application information.

Implementing Organization: Student Support and Exchange Division, Higher Education Bureau, Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology
2-5-1, Marunouchi, Chiyoda-ku ,Tokyo 100-8959 Tel: 03-5253-4111
Allowance: 117,000 yen per year

b. Honors Scholarship for Privately-Financed International Students
Applications are processed through the educational institution where the student is enrolled. Students may also take advantage of the reservation system, to which they may apply when taking the Examination for Japanese University Admission for International Students (EJU) either abroad or in Japan.

Implementing Organization: Independent Administrative Institution Japan Student Services Organization
2-2-1 Aomi, Koto-ku, Tokyo 135-8630
Tel: 03-5520-6030
Eligibility Requirements: Applicants should hold student visas and be recommended by the schools they attend.
Allowance (undergraduate level): 48,000 yen per month (2016 academic year)
Scholarship Period: 1 year
Number of Grantees: 8,070 students

(2) Scholarships Awarded by Local Authorities
Japanese local governments have scholarship programs in place for local residents and students attending local schools. Private organizations and companies also offer scholarships to students whose studies are in alignment with their goals.

Information on many different scholarship programs is available on the website of the Japan Student Services Organization (JASSO). Visit the website for details. (Some pages are in English.)
http://www.jasso.go.jp/en/study_j/scholarships/index.html

   
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