TOKYO METROPOLITAN GOVERNMENT

TOKYO CAREER GUIDE

FAQ Frequently Asked Questions Working & Living

LIVING
JAPANESE 日本語

Q. What level of Japanese language ability is required?

A.When we asked companies that hire foreigners about the level of Japanese language ability required to perform work tasks, their responses* included "A level capable of creating written documents such as reports" (60.8%), followed by "A level capable of handling business dealings" (24.3%), "A simple everyday conversation level" (11.7%), and "Japanese is hardly required at all" (0.3%). Also, even for applicants who do not speak Japanese, some companies will evaluate the applicant's English language ability and motivation to learn Japanese in a short period of time.

*From the Survey on Acceptance and Utilization of High-Level Non-Japanese Human Resources by Companies, by the Japan Institute for Labour Policy and Training (Independent Administrative Agency), dated May 2013

We asked 100
non-Japanese
people working in Tokyo

How proficient are you
at Japanese?

(Answers are based on the Japanese-Language Proficiency Test (JLPT) Levels N1–N5
(with N1 being most difficult and N5 easiest)

Level N1

Level N2

Level N3

Level N4

Level N5

graph

Are you taking steps or making
efforts to
improve your
Japanese language ability?

I socialize with Japanese friends, such as going to dinner or karaoke, and I try to create a lot of opportunities to speak Japanese. I also recommend you try attending international exchange events in your area. Taiwan Age 28
Service industry
If I hear an unfamiliar word or phrase when I'm speaking with more senior employees, I make a note immediately and I look it up later. I also try to commit to memory emails and documents created by my Japanese customers or colleagues. The thing to keep in mind is that if you learn new words and speak without fear of making mistakes, you can learn while using the language for real and while doing what you like. Malaysia Age 23
Commercial company
When I watch the news on TV, I listen closely to what the announcer is saying. I also watch Japanese drama programs about 1hour daily, and I read the newspaper every day. Reading Japanese text is quite effective. Indonesia Age 34
IT & Communications
While working in Tokyo, to improve your practical Japanese you should learn Japanese for use at work. To improve your Japanese grammar and ability to express yourself, I think attending a Japanese language school and speaking with Japanese people are effective methods. Vietnam Age 24
 IT & Communications
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