Japan Relocation: What You Need to Know
Posted by: Ashley Barry, Director, Supply Chain Management, APAC
Known as the “Land of the Rising Sun”, Japan is a major economic and political power, but remains a challenging location for some international assignees. Our Cartus Japan Market Watch provides insight into the current challenges, as well as best practice solutions. In particular, we focus on housing, schooling, climate, transportation, and cultural issues.
Of Japan’s 6,800 islands, the four largest—Honshu, Hokkaido, Kyushu and Shikoku—collectively make up approximately 97% of the country’s land area. With ultra-modern high-rise cities, ancient temples, and mountainous national parks, Japan offers international assignees relocating there a wealth of culture, but what are the local challenges?
Accommodation is generally smaller than properties found in other parts of the world, especially by Western standards. Assignees should be made aware of this before they start looking for a home so that their expectations are set from the beginning.
Places in international schools are limited, so we recommend that families shortlist more than one school, in case their first choice is unavailable. For companies, if international school fees are not covered as part of the relocation program, consider these additional costs when deciding an assignee’s compensation or allowance.
With the threat of earthquakes, typhoons, and volcanic eruptions, companies should make sure they have an evacuation process in place so that expatriate families can be removed from a disaster zone as soon as possible. Families should also make sure they have their own plans in place in case of an emergency, so all family members know where to go and what to do in case of a natural disaster.
Across Japan’s major cities, public transportation networks are well developed. In Tokyo especially, most people opt to use a train or bus to commute to work as road traffic can delay journey times by quite a bit. When searching for a home or a school, assignees will need to find out how long commutes take during peak hours, as often (although quicker than driving), public transport can get very busy.
For a more detailed review of what assignees may experience when relocating to Japan, read the Cartus Japan MarketWatch, and visit our Resource Page for information on other major locations worldwide.