Previously in “Getting a job in Japan, the hard way”, I failed to cover the the best way to come to Japan: O.P.M. ,other people’s money or as it universally called here:
The best way to come to Japan is to be Joining a foreign software company and being sent to Japan on the all expense paid “The Package” for expats is the best. Why live in Japan as an “in-country hire” low-life like me when you can live the fatcat expat life?
The terms for an expat Package traditionally include fully paid Western-style housing and all private school fees, business-class travel home annually, a car, cost-of-living benefits of an additional 20 to 40 percent over local pay levels. For example, an expat friend of mine working for a global electronics company (GE) at middle/lower senior management receives a $3,000 USD housing allowance per month, of airfares to home country, three weeks holiday on top of the numerous Japanese holidays, full medical/dental/legal, and private school fees for their children.
“Ideally” if you want to come to Japan, you should try to be hired at a non-Japanese company with a large Japanese division and then get transferred here to live as royalty. The greater the Japanese presence the non-Japanese company has, the more chances you have to transfer here on the all-important Package. Occasionally, a smaller company will have a gaijin director position available but you would have to have inside connections to know that and generally the smaller the company the higher the level of Japanese is required.
I am saying you need to work for non-Japanese companies because Japanese companies don’t like to transfer folks from the Real World to Japan except for specific projects of less than six months. The game industry has the greatest amount of cross-border transfers most other industries use in-country hiring of very F’ed gaijin and “astronauts” who commute to Japan for a couple weeks or months at a time. Also Japanese company do not want to hire a foreigner sight unseen…and it’s a pain in the ass to come to Japan without work (and often a visa) just to interview for a job. Besides, Japanese companies don’t provide the Package, bah.