FAQ: Study in Japan (Overall)

What are the main advantages of studying for a post-graduate degree in Japan?
There are a number of advantages that studying in Japan can offer a non-Japanese student.
  • The opportunity to experience life in a different culture - Education is not just about the formal study that you do. You will benefit from your entire experience of life in Japan. The cross-cultural skills that you learn and the contacts that you make will put you in good stead for your future career.
  • Asia is becoming increasingly important on the world stage, not only economically and geopolitically, but also in terms of its cultural influence. The experience of living in an Asian country will enable you to gain a new perspective as well as invaluable insight and knowledge that will provide a platform for your future.
  • Japanese universities and graduate schools have high academic standards and world-class facilities.
  • Japan has a standard of living comparable to developed Western countries. It is a comfortable and safe place to live with an extremely well-developed infrastructure.
  • The opportunity to learn Japanese will be an additional qualification that will make you more marketable to a future employer either in Japan or in your home country.
For more information on the benefits of studying in Japan, as well as general information and advice about application procedures and requirements etc. refer to the following Japanese government websites:
Where is the best place in Japan to live and study?
Where you choose to live will mainly depend on your study programme of choice, but other factors may come into consideration. For those who like the buzz of city life, of course, the metropolis of Tokyo has innumerable attractions. Some may prefer smaller cities such as Kyoto or Niigata, or more rural areas. One of the benefits of Japan is that the public transport infrastructure is excellent. Trains, in particular are speedy, comfortable and relatively inexpensive. This means that, wherever you choose to study, you still have the opportunity to explore other parts of the country and experience different aspects of Japan,
I have heard that Japan is very expensive. How can I finance my studies and life there?
Japan, and in particular, Tokyo is an expensive place to live, especially when the value of the Yen is high relative to other currencies. However, apocryphal tales of $10 cups of coffee and outrageously priced meals are unrepresentative and give a rather distorted image. While living costs can be high compared with the US and many European countries, there are ways to live inexpensively, even in Tokyo. Japan has many reasonably priced restaurants, serving healthy local food. Self-catering is an even cheaper option and the country abounds with convenience stores that are open 24/7.
In addition, a full-time student in Japan can work for up to 28 hours per week, subject to receiving permission from the school and obtaining a "Permit to Engage in Activity other than that Permitted by the Status of Residence Previously Granted," from a regional immigration office (see the following link).
Are tuition fees high? Is it possible to obtain scholarships?
Tuition fees to study in Japan depend on the type of institution and the individual programme itself, but in general they are competitive, especially in comparison with graduate study in the US. Fees in Japan are on a par with those in Europe. Of course exchange rate fluctuations have a bearing on relative tuition expenses.
According to JASSO, around 45% of international students in Japan receive scholarships. Candidates can apply to a variety of different scholarships, some offered by the university or faculty, and others by external organizations. One such organization is the Japanese government, in particular the Monbusho Scholarship which should be applied to through a Japanese embassy overseas.
In addition to scholarships, some universities offer tuition fee waivers. Candidates can also look into other sources of financial aid such as bank loans aimed at students.

The Japan Student Services Organization (JASSO) has a lot of information about scholarships on its website.
Please check the website of the university you are planning to attend for more details on the types of scholarships/waivers that are available.
Is it difficult to obtain a visa to study in Japan?
In general, the answer is 'no'. Once a candidate is admitted onto a programme, the university will provide the necessary documentation for his/her visa application. Most universities have an office to support international students. They handle visa-related and other issues, such as Japanese language support, part-time employment and housing. JASSO has information about visas on its website.
How much Japanese do I need to live in Japan?
The programmes introduced here are English-language programmes, so Japanese is not strictly necessary. However, in order to fully benefit from your time in Japan, it is recommended that you make the effort to learn some basic phrases before you come. Living here will give you the opportunity to learn and practice. Most universities provide some kind of language training, in some cases as mandatory elements of the programme. In addition there around 400 accredited Japanese language schools throughout the country, as well as voluntary groups that offer low-price or free basic instruction.
Once you have reached a level of proficiency, then you will be able to improve more rapidly by practicing your language with Japanese students and friends.
How is the climate in Japan?
Japan is a temperate country with distinct seasons. Summers in all areas of Japan, except the northernmost island, Hokkaido, are generally hot and humid, lasting from the end of the rainy season in late June to around mid-September. Winters are mild and dry, but snow may fall several times annually. North of Tokyo, snowfall is more frequent and prolonged. In most areas, spring and autumn are mild and comfortable.

FAQ: Study in Japan (MBA/Business)

What are the main benefits/features of a Japanese MBA? How will it differ from an MBA from the US or Europe?
Studying for an MBA in Japan will enable you to learn a combination of Asian and Western business styles and best practices. The structure and focus of global MBA programmes offered by Japanese universities vary depending on the philosophy of the particular institution and department, the interests of its academic faculty, and also its contacts with the wider business community. In their core courses, Japanese MBAs offer business fundamentals and, as such, have much in common with those offered by business schools in the US and other countries. The optional elements, however, provide opportunities for building connections with blue-chip Japanese corporations and other companies with global reach.
Also, many of the programmes in Japan have a strong regional focus and encompass business practices not only of Japan, but also China and other fast-growing Asian economies. At a time when Western-style 'free-market' capitalism and business practices have exposed failings, hands-on experience of different business models and cultures will be a definite advantage in a future career.
Will a Japanese MBA be recognized globally as a reputable qualification?
Yes. Although the concept of the MBA started in the United States and was, for a long time, associated with that country, there are now a plethora of creditable business schools throughout the world offering highly rated MBA and other business programmes.
What is the diversity of students at Japanese business/graduate schools?
While currently MBA programmes in Japan tend to have smaller numbers of students than those in the US and Europe, Japanese universities and business schools are striving to increase diversity in terms of their students' nationalities and backgrounds. There is generally a slightly higher proportion of Asian students than those from other countries. Again this can be an advantage for someone who has interests in developing a career in this fast-growing region.
Do the programmes in Japan offer opportunities for exchange with other business schools? What about internship opportunities?
Yes. Japan's business schools have exchange relationships with other top-ranking business schools in the US, Europe and Asia, enabling students to opt for a period of study outside Japan as part of their programme. They also invite academic staff from partner institutions to give seminars on a regular basis.
Doing an MBA in Japan gives you the chance to make contacts in Japan's business community. Again, many business schools invite business leaders to give lectures and to participate in various practical projects as part of the programme. Contacts between the school and the wider business communities provide opportunities to do internships and even go on to work for a Japanese company after graduation.
Are the programmes only in English?
Yes. The programmes we have listed are global-type MBAs aimed at non-Japanese students and all courses are offered in English only. While Japanese is not absolutely necessary, learning some of the language is one way to enhance your experience in the country as well as gain a highly marketable skill. Most programmes offer the opportunity to study Japanese and/or other languages
How long are MBA programmes in Japan?
All programmes listed are two years full-time.
How will a Japanese MBA enhance my career prospects?
In times of economic uncertainty, when companies tend to be less active in the recruitment of new employees, it is all the more important to have a CV that really stands out. As well as giving you a highly creditable post-graduate qualification, studying for an MBA in Japan shows a prospective employer that you have the initiative and drive to overcome the challenges of living in a different culture. The content of your studies, the different perspectives on life and business, and the contacts that you make will be an invaluable resource as you progress through your future career.

FAQ: Study in Japan (International Relations etc.)

What are the advantages of studying a Masters degree in International Relations/Development Studies/Area Studies in Japan?
At a time of globalization, when the political and cultural importance of Asia continues to grow in tandem with its economic strength, there are many advantages to be gained from studying a Masters in a discipline like International Relations/Development Studies/Area Studies in Japan.
  1. Soft skills such as cross-cultural sensitivity are extremely useful and marketable in any career, be it in business, diplomacy, NGOs or academia.
  2. You can gain a different, non-Eurocentric perspective of global issues and international relations through seminars and discussions with academics and fellow students from Asia and other regions.
  3. You can build up a network of international contacts that will be valuable to a future career in an international organization.
  4. Studying in Japan provides an opportunity to learn Japanese and other languages.
Are the programmes only in English?
Yes. The programmes we have listed are aimed at non-Japanese students and all courses are offered in English only. While Japanese is not absolutely necessary, learning some of the language is one way to enhance your experience in the country as well as gain a highly marketable skill. Most programmes offer the opportunity to study Japanese and/or other languages.
How long are the Masters programmes in Japan?
All programmes listed are two years full-time.
What is the credibility of a Masters degree gained in Japan?
The Japanese graduate programmes selected on this website are at reputable schools with high academic standards.

FAQ: Recruitment

What are my chances of finding work in Japan?
There are two broad categories of foreigners working in Japan. One is the 'ex-pat', someone who is sent over by his/her company to work for a specific term, usually two years. The other is the 'local hire', who is hired in Japan, either by a Japanese company or the Japanese branch or a foreign company.
While the current global recession has affected the job market adversely, in Japan as elsewhere, many companies are looking to the future and expecting a recovery over the next 12 months. So, while the hiring situation is undoubtedly tight, there are still job opportunities for qualified and motivated candidates, particularly in the areas of accounting and finance, or with backgrounds in engineering and the alternative energy sector.
What qualifications/skills do I need to work in Japan?
The minimum official qualification required to work in Japan is a Bachelor's degree, although, as with anywhere else, higher qualifications, such as a Masters or MBA, and relevant work experience also improve your chances of finding work. A sound knowledge of IT and other transferrable skills are also an advantage.
An ability to speak Japanese is also a definite bonus, and companies in Japan usually require at least some basic conversation ability.
What kind of visa do I need to work in Japan and how do I obtain it? I have a Japanese spouse/partner; can I find work in Japan?
Most foreigners working in Japan are on a three-year renewable working visa. In most cases, the employer will support the visa applicant and submit all the necessary documents for application. The process can be started in Japan, but at some point the applicant will have to visit a Japanese embassy or consulate overseas to process the visa.
The following Ministry of Foreign Affairs website gives details of the visa categories and application procedures.
How can Business-Paradigm help me to find work?
We have a proud record of providing consulting and advice to job-seekers, and have successfully found positions both in Japan and overseas for MBA-holders and others who wish to step up in their career.
Please contact us, and one of our recruitment consultants will get back to you to arrange a short interview, either in person or via Skype, during which we will answer any questions you have and find out what your career goals are. We will then search for a suitable position, arrange interviews with prospective companies and, if successful, carry out negotiations with the company on your behalf. (Contact Us)
Does Business-Paradigm only offer advice and opportunities for those wishing to work in Japan?
No. In addition to placing English-speaking candidates with Japanese and non-Japanese companies in Japan and Asia, we can also offer consulting, careers guidance and job-placement for those who are wishing to work in other parts of the world. We already have strong links with companies in Europe, and are currently enhancing our relationships and building a portfolio of job openings with companies in other regions including Oceania, Africa, the Middle East, and North America, Europe and Asia.