Working in Japan.

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Warren Smith

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May 25, 2021, 9:59:10 AMMay 25
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I have been interviewed regarding taking a contract position in Japan in a strategic management project, but have not worked in Japan since the 1980s, so have some questions. Perhaps some of my colleagues have some experience they can share.

 

1) What is the current state of visa requirements for a US citizen? The position will be on a three-month rolling contract, which may end up long-term. The position might be structured as "freelance," or I could be an employee of basically a temp agency (of either a US-based entity or a Japan-based entity). I understand that lead times for a sponsored work visa are VERY long at present... perhaps up to a year. Does anybody have experience with a "Highly Skilled Professional" visa? (https://www.visasjapan.com/visa-types/#professional) talks about the Highly Skilled Profesisonal visa, but does anybody on this list have experience with this?

 

2) Does anybody have any advice about ex-pat income tax? How does double-taxation work?

 

Thanks!

 

Warren Smith

 

Joe Jones

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May 25, 2021, 10:11:22 AMMay 25
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Right now the only foreigners allowed to enter Japan on new visas are the following:

o    Foreign nationals who have departed from Japan on or before August 31, 2020 with a valid Re-entry Permit/Special Re-entry Permit but have been unable to re-enter Japan because the validity of the permit has expired after their departure from Japan.

o    The spouse or child of a Japanese national or permanent resident of Japan.

o    The spouse or child of a foreign national with the status of residence of “Long-term resident” whose family is staying in Japan and who have been separated from their family.

o    A foreign national who is going to acquire the status of "Instructor" or "Professor" and who needs to enter Japan to fill a vacancy at the educational institution s/he is employed by or will be employed by, provided such a vacancy would result in the suspension of educational activities at the above-mentioned educational institution.

o    A foreign national who is going to acquire the status of "Medical Services" and will contribute to the enhancement and strengthening of the Japanese medical profession.

o    Foreign nationals who do not fall under the cases above but have been acknowledged to have special exceptional circumstances (e.g., cases that require humanitarian consideration) by the Japanese authorities.

 

It’s anyone’s guess as to how long these restrictions will continue. Given the glacial pace of vaccinations and the current level of freaking out about mutant variants of covid, I suspect they won’t be eased significantly until the fall, maybe not even until early next year. Then it’s anyone’s guess as to how long the visa backlogs will be.

 

On taxes, you have to file both Japanese and US tax returns as a US citizen living in Japan. You get a foreign earned income exclusion in the US which knocks the first $100k or so of wage income off of your US tax return, and you get a foreign tax credit for Japanese tax paid on any income outside of the exclusion. So in essence, you only pay Japanese tax on the first $100k or so in wages, and any other income is ultimately taxed at the higher of the two countries’ rates (if the US rate is higher, you would pay taxes to Japan at the regular Japan rate and then pay the difference to the US). This is a highly simplified explanation, so you may want to talk to a CPA if you have any kind of complicated tax situation.

 

Daniel Joseph ("Joe") Jones | Law Office of D. J. Jones PLLC
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Warren Smith

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May 25, 2021, 10:37:11 AMMay 25
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Wow. This is very useful stuff.

 

Thank you Joe!

 

W

 


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Warren Smith

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May 28, 2021, 12:40:39 AMMay 28
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In case anybody is interested, attached is the scoring sheet for qualifying for a 5-year visa for Japan as a highly skilled worker (researcher, executive, etc). You have to score 70 points to qualify.

 

W

 

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