Tuesday, April 16, 2024

A Guide to Applying as a Nurse in Japan: Essential Steps and Requirements

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Japan is a unique workplace due to its rich cultural heritage and traditions, highly developed technology, and strong work-life balance culture.

With a high standard of living and a strong emphasis on education and professional development, Japan offers many opportunities for professional growth and advancement for fili.

The country’s cultural heritage and traditions, advanced technology, and focus on work-life balance make it a unique and rewarding workplace.

Why are nurses so in demand in Japan?

  • Aging population: Japan has one of the oldest populations in the world, with 29.1% of the population over the age of 65. This means that there is a growing demand for healthcare services, including nursing care.
  • Nursing shortage: Japan has a shortage of nurses, with an estimated 270,000 vacancies by 2025. This is due to several factors, including a declining birth rate, an aging population, and a lack of nurses entering the profession.
  • Government initiatives: The Japanese government is actively recruiting foreign nurses to fill the growing gap in the healthcare industry. The government has implemented a number of initiatives to make it easier for foreign nurses to work in Japan, including visa reforms and language training programs.

As a result of these factors, there are many opportunities for foreign nurses to work in Japan. Nurses with the right skills and qualifications can find good jobs with competitive salaries and benefits.

Here are some of the reasons why foreign nurses are in demand in Japan:

  • Language skills: Nurses who are fluent in Japanese are in high demand. This is because many Japanese patients prefer to receive care from nurses who can speak their language.
  • Cultural understanding: Nurses with good knowledge of Japanese culture are also in demand. This is because Japanese hospitals and clinics have a unique culture that can be difficult for foreign nurses to adjust to.
  • International experience: Nurses with international experience are also in demand. This is because Japanese hospitals and clinics are looking for nurses who can bring new ideas and perspectives.
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If you are a foreign nurse who is interested in working in Japan, there are a number of things you can do to increase your chances of success. First, you should make sure that you have the right skills and qualifications.

This includes having a valid nursing license from your home country and being fluent in Japanese. Second, you should research the different types of nursing jobs available in Japan. This will help you find a job that is a good fit for your skills and interests.

Finally, it would be best to network with other foreign nurses working in Japan. This will help you get your foot in the door and find a good job.

Important things to know about working in Japan as a nurse

Here are some important things to know about working as a nurse in Japan.

Language requirement

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To work as a nurse in Japan, a good level of Japanese language proficiency is often required. You may need to take and pass a Japanese language proficiency test, such as the Japanese Language Proficiency Test (JLPT) or the Test of Practical Japanese (TOPJ).

Visa requirement

You must obtain a valid visa to enter and work in Japan, such as a working visa or a dependent visa. The type of visa and the application process can vary depending on your situation and the employer.

Work environment

The work environment for nurses in Japan is typically fast-paced and demanding, with a high standard of care expected. You must work effectively under pressure and adhere to strict protocols and procedures.

Professional development

Continuing education and professional development are highly valued in the nursing profession in Japan. You may be required to attend regular training sessions and workshops to update your knowledge and skills.

Cultural differences

Japan has a unique culture and working style that can differ from what you are used to in the Philippines. It is essential to be respectful and mindful of cultural differences and to adjust your behavior accordingly.

Cost of living

The cost of living in Japan can be high, especially in major cities such as Tokyo and Osaka. You must plan your budget accordingly and be prepared for a higher cost of living than in the Philippines.

Employment contract

It is essential to carefully review the terms and conditions of your employment contract before accepting a job offer in Japan. This includes working hours, salary, benefits, and other important terms and conditions.

How much are nurses paid in Japan?

The salary of a foreign nurse in Japan varies depending on the type of nursing practice, the level of experience, and the location of the job. According to a 2022 survey by the Japan Nursing Association, the average salary for a foreign nurse in Japan is ¥3.5 million (about $31,000) per year. However, the Economic Research Institute puts the average salary for nurses in Japan at ¥7.5 million per year.

Here is a breakdown of the average salaries for foreign nurses in Japan, based on the type of nursing practice:

  • Registered nurses (RNs): The average salary for an RN in Japan is ¥3.6 million (about $32,000) per year.
  • Licensed practical nurses (LPNs): The average salary for an LPN in Japan is ¥2.9 million (about $26,000) per year.
  • Nurse practitioners (NPs): The average salary for an NP in Japan is ¥4.2 million (about $37,000) per year.

It is important to note that these are just average salaries. The actual salary of a foreign nurse in Japan will vary depending on the specific job and the factors mentioned above.

Here are some of the factors that can affect the salary of a foreign nurse in Japan:

  • Level of experience: Nurses with more experience tend to earn higher salaries.
  • Location: Nurses who work in major cities, such as Tokyo and Osaka, tend to earn higher salaries than those who work in smaller cities or rural areas.
  • Specialty: Nurses specializing in certain areas, such as critical care or pediatrics, tend to earn higher salaries than those working in general nursing.
  • Language skills: Nurses fluent in Japanese tend to earn higher salaries than those who are not.

If you are considering a career as a foreign nurse in Japan, it is important to research the salaries for different nursing jobs and locations. When negotiating your salary, you should also consider your experience level, language skills, and desired specialty.

Cities that employ most nurses

The cities that employ the most nurses in Japan can vary depending on the population size, healthcare infrastructure, and the demand for healthcare services. However, some cities that typically have a high demand for nurses in Japan include:

  • Tokyo: As Japan’s capital and largest city, Tokyo has a large population and a well-developed healthcare system, making it a major employment hub for nurses and other healthcare professionals.Featured hospital: St. Luke’s International Hospital: St. Luke’s is a prominent general hospital in Tokyo, offering a wide range of specializations and services to both local and international patients. It is well-known for its sophisticated medical services and English-friendly environment.
  • Osaka: As the third-largest city in Japan and a major hub for business and tourism, Osaka has a high demand for healthcare services and employs many nurses.Featured hospital: Osaka University Hospital: A notable institution noted for its high-quality healthcare services and commitment to promoting medical science in Osaka and beyond, Osaka University Hospital serves as a hub for medical research and education.
  • Nagoya: As the fourth largest city in Japan and a hub for manufacturing and industry, Nagoya has a well-developed healthcare system and high nurse demand.Featured hospital: Nagoya University Hospital is a leading academic hospital noted for its cutting-edge research, comprehensive medical care, and contributions to medical education, making it a vital healthcare institution in Nagoya.
  • Fukuoka: As the largest city on the island of Kyushu and a hub for business and tourism, Fukuoka has a growing demand for healthcare services and employs many nurses.Featured hospital: Kyushu University Hospital is a large medical center in Fukuoka that is known for its proficiency in patient care, medical research, and education, making it a vital institution in the region.
  • Sapporo: As the largest city on the island of Hokkaido and a hub for tourism, Sapporo has a growing demand for healthcare services and employs a significant number of nurses.Featured hospital: Hokkaido University Hospital: Known for its academic achievements and extensive medical services, Hokkaido University Hospital in Sapporo is a premier healthcare facility in the Hokkaido region that stresses research, education, and patient care.

These cities are just examples, and the demand for nurses can vary yearly and from city to city. It is essential to research the specific healthcare market and job market in the city you are interested in to get a better understanding of the demand for nurses and the job opportunities available.

Types of Nurses in Japan

In Japan, there are several types of nurses, each with their own specific responsibilities and roles in the healthcare system.

  • Registered Nurse (RN): RNs are the most common type of nurse in Japan and are responsible for providing patient care, monitoring patients’ conditions, and administering treatments and medications.
  • Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS): CNSs are advanced practice nurses who provide specialized care in a specific field, such as pediatrics, psychiatry, or oncology.
  • Certified Nurse-Midwife (CNM): CNMs provide comprehensive care to women, including prenatal care, labor and delivery, and postpartum care.
  • Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA): CRNAs are advanced practice nurses who specialize in administering anesthesia during surgical procedures.

Requirements to apply as a nurse in Japan

As a Filipino nurse looking to work in Japan, you will need to follow these steps:

  1. Obtain a bachelor’s degree in nursing from a reputable university in the Philippines.
  2. Pass the Philippine Nursing Licensure Exam.
  3. Obtain a valid Philippine passport.
  4. Pass the Japanese Language Proficiency Test (JLPT) or the Test of Practical Japanese (TOPJ), if necessary.
  5. Acquire a valid visa to enter Japan, such as a working or dependent visa.
  6. Find a nursing job in Japan through various channels, such as job fairs, recruitment agencies, or online job search portals.
  7. Submit your application and necessary documents to the employer, such as your resume, nursing license, passport, and Japanese language proficiency test score.
  8. Attend an interview and, if successful, receive a job offer.
  9. Complete the necessary paperwork and procedures, such as obtaining a work permit, registering with the local government, and enrolling in the Japanese National Health Insurance program.

The requirements and processes may vary depending on the employer and the Japanese government’s regulations, which can change over time.


When applying for nursing jobs in Japan, Filipino nurses should emphasize their good clinical skills, Japanese language fluency, and cultural adaptability. Passing the Japanese Language Proficiency Test (JLPT) and completing the required license tests are examples of essential training and certifications that will increase their chances of success.

Furthermore, demonstrating a genuine interest in Japanese healthcare procedures as well as a dedication to continual learning will boost their application. Good luck!

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