Japan is a very beautiful Asian country with an incredible history and culture, a developed economy and a high standard of living. Thanks to quality medicine and a healthy diet, Japanese citizens live the longest in the world (on average 85 years). For example, on the famous island of Okinawa more than 400 people over a hundred years old have been registered.

The population of Japan is about 123 million people. In contrast to many Western European countries, the proportion of foreign residents is only 1.6%. Most of them are Koreans, Chinese and representatives of some other Asian nations. About prices and costs of living, taxes, popular professions, wages, education, medicine, pluses and minuses of living in Japan in 2024 we will talk further.

Living in Japan

Pros and cons of living in Japan

Today, more than 20% of residents of Japan over 65 years old, and the birth rate in the country has reached record lows. According to the forecast of the Ministry of Health of Japan, by 2060 the population of the country will fall by more than 40 million people.

Japan is already experiencing its highest labor shortage in 40 years. All of these factors are likely to contribute to an influx of large numbers of immigrants in the coming years. Let's distinguish the positive and negative aspects of living in Japan.

Pros of living in Japan

  • In the Land of the Rising Sun many cultural peculiarities and colorful traditions, fascinating architecture and beautiful nature. For example, the former capital of Japan, Kyoto is deservedly considered one of the most beautiful cities in the world.

  • According to the Global Peace Index report, Japan is one of the top 10 safest countries on the planet.

  • Perfect infrastructure, transparent legal system and lack of corruption create optimal conditions for the effective functioning of business in Japan, including profitable investment.

  • High-quality medicine and a top-class education system.

  • Japanese food is not only very delicious, but also healthy, and the service in local restaurants and cafes is one of the best in the world.

  • Japan's transportation infrastructure, including buses, trains and subways, run like clockwork – fast, reliable and convenient.

  • Japan has a good environment and all conditions for a comfortable life.

Pros and cons of living in Japan

Cons of living in Japan

  • Many experts include Japan in the ranking of ten most expensive countries to live in the world.

  • Japan is a very closed country, which is extremely wary of immigrants.

  • The Japanese language is very difficult to learn.

  • It's a well-known fact that the Japanese work hard. Not every foreigner can handle the work schedule in Japan.

  • There are frequent natural disasters in Japan, including devastating earthquakes and tsunamis.

  • Overcrowding and living space is small.

  • A European will never fit 100% into local society and will not be at home in Japan.

Prices and cost of living in Japan

Life in Japan is more expensive than in China or Thailand, but cheaper compared to Singapore or Australia. By the way Tokyo is the richest city in the world with population more than 13 million people. Therefore, to live in the Japanese capital is not only attractive from a professional point of view, but also very expensive.

Rent a studio apartment in Japan in the central part of the city will cost about 96.1 thousand yen a month (675 euros), and in remote areas about 61.3 thousand yen (430 euros). The price per square meter of real estate in the center – 900 thousand yen (6,325 euros), and outside the city 492 (3,460 euros).

Prices in Japan in 2024

  • Bread (500 g) – 226.57 ¥

  • Milk (0.6 L) – 211.55 ¥

  • Eggs (12 eggs) – 327.30 ¥

  • Chicken fillet (1 kg) – 920.50 ¥

  • Potatoes (1 kg) – 386.74 ¥

  • Japanese cheese (1 kg) – 1,617.66 ¥

  • Bananas (1 kg) – 332.29 ¥

  • Apples (1 kg) – 680.78 ¥

  • Gasoline (1 L) – 170.59 ¥

  • Cab (1 km) – 400 ¥

  • Public transport fare – 220 ¥

  • Monthly bus pass – 8,000 ¥

  • Utilities (85 sq.m.) – 24,923.43 ¥ per month

  • Cell phone service (month) – 3,937.02 ¥

  • Internet – 4,953.42 ¥ per month

Note. Prices are quoted in local currency, Japanese yen (¥). The exchange rate of one yen today is 0.007 US dollar/euro.

Tax rates in Japan

Tax rates in Japan in 2024

Corporate income tax:

For small and medium-sized companies:

  • Turnover up to 8 million yen per year – 15%

  • Turnover of more than 8 million yen per year – 23.20%

Other companies (authorized capital of over 100 million yen and offices in several prefectures) – 23.20%.

Effective corporate tax rate (excludes some other taxes):

  • For small and medium-sized companies – 34.6%

  • For large companies – 30.62%

Income tax:

  • Annual income from 0 to 1,950,000 yen – 5%

  • Annual income between 1,950,001 yen and 3,300,000 yen – 10% (minus 97,500 yen)

  • Annual income from 3,300,001 to 6,695,000 yen – 20% (minus 427,500 yen)

  • Annual income from 6,695,001 to 9,000,000 yen – 23% (minus 636,000 yen)

  • Annual income between 9,000,001 and 18,000,000 yen – 33% (minus 1,536,000 yen)

  • Annual income between 18,000,001 and 40,000,000 yen – 40% (minus 2,796,500 yen)

  • Annual income over 40,000,000 yen – 45% (minus 4,796,500 yen)

Municipal tax – 6%

Prefectural tax – 4%, and for self-employed persons – 3 and 5%, depending on the type of business.

Consumption tax (analog of VAT) – 5%

Jobs and wages in Japan

As mentioned above, working in Japan is very hard. Working irregular hours and using vacation time to cure some illness is common to the Japanese. Despite the stagnant economy in recent decades, unemployment in the country does not exceed 2-4%. In order to legally find a job an applicant from abroad must first find an employer and obtain a work visa.

The most popular occupations in Japan for foreigners are translators, programmers, mechanics in automobile industry, doctors, engineers, builders and other technical specialists. Teachers of English and the owners of the creative professions – dancers, singers, artists are in demand. In the field of unskilled labor to find legal work is virtually impossible.

According to official data of the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare, the national minimum wage in Japan in 2024 is 1,002 yen per hour (6 euros). Depending on the prefecture, the rate varies between 790 and 1,113 yen per hour (5 and 7 euros). The average salary in Japan is about 315,546 yen per month, which is equivalent to 1,920 euros.

Higher education in Japan

Higher education in Japan

The quality of Japan's higher education system is known far beyond the Asian region. Largely thanks to research and development, the country has managed to create the world's third largest economy after the U.S. and China. In Japan there are many specialized schools, colleges and about 800 universities which are divided into national, state and private.

The top 100 of the prestigious QS World University Rankings 2024 includes 4 Japanese universities, and a total of 50 universities in the list. The best higher education institutions in Japan are considered to be Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka Universities. In most cases to enter a local university a foreigner must successfully pass a special test – EJU. The average cost of education at a university in Japan is $4,955 per year.

Medicine in Japan

Japan has one of the best medical systems in the world. The state covers about 70% of medical expenses of citizens, whereas the remaining 30% fall on the shoulders of patients at local clinics. The country offers a universal and efficient medical insurance system which all Japanese citizens are required by law to obtain. Prices for medical services are strictly regulated by the government and are generally very affordable. Depending on income and age, a person is charged no more than 10, 20, or 30% of the total cost of treatment.

In conclusion, the average life expectancy at birth in Japan in 2024 is just over 85 years, with women living about 87 years and men 82.

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