Following the conclusion of world War Two, Japan revolutionized its economy and experienced an economical miracle similar to that in post war West Germany. Japan was able to grow a strong economy centred around manufacturing exports and financial services.
The booming economy of Japan placed it squarely on the world stage as a financial heavyweight and ahead of the East Asian Tiger economies. The strong economics of the country also helped to establish Japan as a prime destination for expatriate workers. Many multi-national companies have global headquarters in Japan, particularly those in the automotive and electronics sectors, such as Sony, and Nissan, which often draw in expat workers to the country.
The standard of living in Japan is extremely high and comparable to other developed nations. The real estate in the country is somewhat comparable to the situations in Hong Kong and Singapore, with expensive, small, inner city apartments, and a rage of high end luxury residences. The rental situation is similar to that in neighboring East Asian countries. Foreign nationals face restrictions on property ownership which leads most expats to remain renting accommodation on a long term basis.
Japan has had a difficult time in recent history, with the fall out of an economic asset bubble between 1986-1990 that had a huge impact on the economy and markets. The recovery from this has been very slow to materialize and was further hampered by the global financial crisis of 2008. In spite of this, the economy of the country remains among the largest in the world and continues to hold itself in the global markets.
Japan has an advanced financial sector with interests from local banks, as well as large multi-national retail banking and wealth management institutions. Japanese banks retain a dominant market share among both the local population and the expatriate community, but both local and foreign banks facilitate a range of financial products including credit cards, personal loans, and mortgages.
As a country with very developed financial market, there financial laws of Japan are somewhat similar to those of the United states and the United Kingdom. There are are many comparable laws that relate to financial market investments and taxation of incomes.
For the citizens of most developed countries visa free travel is permitted to Japan for up to 90 days. There are more than a dozen specific working visas that are obtained by application to the Japanese embassy in your country of citizenship. The regulations covering working visa are quite specific and subject to legislation that you should research in depth before applying.
It is also possible to acquire an investment visa if you intend to operate your own business in the region. To qualify for an investor visa you must present a valid business plan and have sufficient finances to support the business for at least 6 months. Such a visa is valid for 2 years, but can be extended thereafter. After 7 years, expatriates of any residency visa status can apply for permanent residency in the country.