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The COVID-19 Hiring Situation in Japan [Updated Nov. 20]

At the Japan Careers Program and Sakae Japan Internship Program,

we are committed to our applicants and would like to help provide some clarity regarding our program's current situation and the hiring situation in Japan. As of May 27th, the Japanese border essentially remains closed to non-Japanese citizens who are coming from countries impacted by the novel coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic. (More details can be found on the Japanese Ministry of Justice website: Because of this restriction, the Japanese immigration office has stopped issuing visas for anyone living outside of Japan.

UPDATE: (June 15, 2020) Japan Today has reported that the Japanese government is considering allowing a limited number of travelers to enter Japan from Australia, New Zealand, Thailand, and Vietnam starting in the summer. We will continue to update this post as changes occur and more finalized details have been determined.

(July 20, 2020) Although there have been no official changes just yet, the Japan Times has reported that the Japanese government is also considering softened restrictions on business travelers from 10 Asian countries, including S. Korea and China.

(July 30, 2020) The Prime Minister of Japan has confirmed that entry restrictions on business travelers from 12 Asian territories will be relaxed, and a separate entry framework for business travelers outside of those territories will also be considered, according to the Japan Times. Travelers would need to self-quarantine for 14 days, pass a virus test, and avoid using public transportation (including domestic air travel). It is still unclear how this may affect international hiring practices.

(August 20, 2020) The governments of Japan and Singapore have worked together to ease travel restrictions between the two countries for certain business travelers and residents of Japan without citizenship, according to the Japan Times. As mentioned before, the Prime Minister of Japan is also currently working with other countries to ease restrictions, however the impact on international hiring practices is still unclear.

(September 1, 2020) The Japan Times reports that Japanese immigration will allow immigrants and other long-term visa holders to begin re-entering the country again from September 1. However, when entering Japan, residents will need to submit negative results from a PCR test taken within 72 hours prior to departure, which may not be obtainable in many regions. They will also be subject to additional testing and self-quarantine. Additionally, the Times reports that Japan and Taiwan have entered into an agreement to allow "newly arriving expatriates and other long-term residents" between the two countries from September 8. While these changes unfortunately will still not apply to most of our applicants, we are hopeful that this is a step in the right direction toward allowing immigration to fully resume again.

(September 28, 2020) From October, the Japanese government will begin allowing entry for all non-tourist visa applicants, as reported by the Japan Times. Non-tourist visa applicants include any persons applying for permission to stay in Japan for a period longer than 90 days, for any other purpose than tourism. Those who are initially entering the country for a period shorter than 90 days (largely through the tourist visa waiver program) are not yet permitted to enter Japan, and as such, the easing of this restriction still does not apply to most applicants to our program. However, this is again hopefully a step in the right direction for our program to return to full operation.

(November 20, 2020) Travel for tourism and most other short-term purposes is still not permitted, and there is no indication that this will change in the near term.

After the Japanese government announced the state of emergency which has since been lifted, most Japanese companies have installed remote work systems, allowing many people to work remotely from home. Because the situation has been very unpredictable and unstable, many Japanese companies have also temporarily paused hiring processes altogether.

However, the situation in Japan is gradually improving, and the Japanese government has been working to mitigate the impact of the pandemic. We continue to accept applications to our program, but please be aware that we expect any available positions for applicants outside of Japan to start no earlier than September. [September 1, 2020 - Unfortunately as immigration has been slow to resume, we unfortunately do not yet know when applicants from outside of Japan will be able to expect to begin a new position.] (This is subject to change according to the immigration situation and guidance from the Japanese government.) We will continue to process applications to our program, and applicants already in Japan will be able to proceed as normal, but please understand that the actual selection process cannot begin until we know that positions have become available again.

Regardless, we look forward to your application, and are determined to provide guidance wherever possible during these uncertain times.


Japan Careers Program and Sakae Japan Internship Program

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