Working in Japan

What to do if you lose your job in Japan

Suddenly unemployed in Japan? Don’t panic! Learn the next steps to get back on your feet again!

For many people, working in Japan is a dream opportunity. But what happens if things don’t go to planSickness, company bankruptcy, down-sizing. There are many reasons why you may find yourself jobless in Japan. But don’t panic! You may not have to give up and book a flight home just yet. Read our advice to find out if you can receive support and get back on your feet! 

What do I if I have lost my job in Japan?

Luckily, Japan has a support system for unemployed people. This is called koyou hoken (雇用保険こようほけん). Koyou hoken is a kind of unemployment insurance.
As a temporary safeguard, you can receive pay at a reduced rate of your previous monthly salary. These payments can help you cover rent, bills and anything else.

How do I claim unemployment benefit in Japan?

Am I eligible for unemployment benefit?

If you have been paying social insurance benefit, or shakai hoken, you should be covered for unemployment insurance. Also, you must have been working in Japan and paying into shakai hoken for at least six months.
How to claim shakai hoken

First, visit your nearest Hello Work office. Hello Work is a government organization managed by the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare. There are over 544 locations across Japan. Luckily, many of their offices have interpreters if you are not confident speaking Japanese. Before meeting with them, prepare the following documents:

  • Letter of separation, or rishoku-hyo
  • My number card
  • Resident’s card
  • Identity verification documents, such as:
    • Driver’s license, My Number card, ID card
    • Health Insurance card
  • Two photos (passport style)
  • Passbook or cash card in your name.

At the meeting with Hello Work, they will determine if you are eligible for unemployment benefit. This may include investigating the reason why you left your previous position. They will also give you a certification of recognition of your unemployment status.

If eligible, you will begin to receive your benefit with 5 – 7 working days

But remember! Unemployment benefit is to support you between jobs. You must prove you are actively seeking employment. You are required to return to the Hello Work office and discuss your job-hunting process 28 days after receiving your first benefit payment.


How much is unemployment benefit in Japan?

The amount paid to you will depend on a few factors:

  • Your age
  • Your career / industry
  • How much you earned in your previous job
  • Your reason for leaving

In some instances, an employee may receive up to 80% of their average monthly salary. This may be paid for up to 6 months. But this is only the best-case scenario! For high earners, your benefit will most likely be 50% of your monthly salary. This is based on the assumption that you have savings to rely on.  Lower earners may be paid up to 80%, if they left their job due to no fault of their own.

If you decide to quit, or are let go due to misconduct, your employment benefit will be calculated at a much lower rate.

How long can you stay in Japan after losing your job?

This will depend on your visa status. If you have a working visa, you may stay up to three months (or more) in Japan. If you wish to stay longer than three months, you can apply for a visa extension.
However, they only accept applications 90 days before your current visa expires. So be sure to start the process quickly! If you do not inform Immigration within 90 days of your unemployment, you are at risk of a fine up to ¥200,000, prison time or deportation.

For people with the following visa status, you can stay in Japan for as long as you want, regardless of your working status:

  • Dependent
  • Spouse or Child of Japanese National
  • Spouse or Child of Permanent Resident
  • Long-term Resident
  • Permanent Resident


How to find a new job in Japan

Being unemployed in a foreign country can be an overwhelming experience. But is this a crisis or an opportunity? Maybe this is your chance to find an even better job in Japan than you had before!

Switch careers

Perhaps you only planned to stay in Japan for a year. Maybe you became an ALT as the easiest route to work in Japan. But there are many industries and careers in Japan for you to try! Take time to browse our job search. At Jobs in Japan, it is easy to find job listings by Japanese ability, location and job type. You may find a great position in a vocation you never considered before.

We have many opportunities in a wide range of industries, including:

  • Education
  • Engineering
  • Web development
  • Customer Service

If you want to know more about finding the right job for you, browse our Work in Japan articles. We post lots of useful information to help your job hunt and achieve success.

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