Can You Work Remotely in Japan for a Company Based Outside Japan?

Aki Japan Tax Services | Your Income and Corporate Tax Specialists | Can You Work Remotely in Japan for a Company Based Outside Japan?

Author Aki Kojima

Certified Public Tax Accountant with an MBA, member of the Association of Micro M&A Professionals, and licensed real estate agent. I provide tax advisory services, asset management consulting, and support for business owners, freelancers, and sole proprietors. I have extensive experience in international sales, accounting, labor relations, recruiting, and IT management. In addition to my professional work, I write articles and books on taxation and financial education. I enjoy swimming, reading, photography, and spending time in nature with my two children.

August 19, 2023

August 19, 2023

In today’s digital age, remote work has become increasingly popular, especially in the wake of the global pandemic. Many individuals are now pondering the feasibility of working remotely in Japan for companies headquartered abroad. This article aims to shed light on this topic and provide clarity for those considering such an arrangement.


The Basics of Remote Work in Japan

If you’re a foreigner residing in Japan and considering working remotely for a company based outside the country, you first need to know that you’ll require a working visa. This is similar to the visa you’d need if you were employed by a company physically located in Japan. The primary consideration here isn’t where your employer is based but where you are when working.


The Implications for Japanese Citizens and Foreign Residents

The rules aren’t just limited to foreigners. Japanese citizens or foreign residents in Japan who wish to work remotely for a company in another country would also need a visa for the country they intend to work from. This emphasizes the importance of understanding the visa regulations of both Japan and the country where the employer is based.


Exceptions to the Rule

There are certain exceptions to be aware of. For instance, if you work remotely for a Japanese company but live and work outside Japan, you won’t need a Japanese work visa. This is because Japan’s work visas are tied to one’s ‘residential status’. As long as the company can establish an employment relationship and manage tax withholdings, they can employ foreign remote workers living abroad.


A Word of Caution for Dependent Visa Holders

For those residing in Japan on a Dependent Visa, it’s essential to be cautious. If you’re working full-time, defined as more than 28 hours a week, and your activities fall outside the scope of your visa, you risk jeopardizing your residential status in Japan.


In Conclusion

Remote work offers many opportunities, but it’s crucial to be well-informed about the regulations, especially when considering working remotely in a country like Japan. Ensure you have the proper visa and permissions before starting your remote work journey. It might also be worth considering changes to the system, such as receiving a refund upon departure from Japan rather than at the point of purchase, to streamline the process further.