Can Japanese Students have Jobs? Here’s How!

Most students can’t officially have a part-time job in Japan. That is why many students work illegally without permission from schools and parents.

One report says about 20% of junior-high-school students work illegally at least once for career advancement. Some students can get permission to work for summer vacation, but not every time.

By the way, you still need permission even if you don’t get paid. It’s illegal to make money without consent in Japan. Illegal work may cause serious trouble except for the fines (your parents will know about it).

Here are some reasons students don’t get permission to get a job when they want one.

School regulations


Almost all schools in Japan prohibit students from working during school hours or on school days off.

It is allowed only if the student has a particular reason, such as supporting family finances or having a disease that requires them to work.

But many schools prohibit students from working even after school.

A study shows that 95% of junior high schools and 82% of senior high schools have this regulation.

Anxiety about class disruption

Most Japanese teachers think that allowing working students will negatively influence their classmates who don’t work.

So almost all teachers do not permit students to perform.

Risk of being exploited at work

Even though working students are supposed to have the same rights as other employees, they often have no power against their employers because they are so young.

This may lead them to unfair treatment and hard labor, which can endanger their health.

There are some ways for students who want a job. They are as follows.

How can a Japanese student Get a Job?


Getting permission from the school office

Students who want to work need permission from the school office.

If they have a valid reason, it may be granted by the principal or teacher in charge of student affairs.

For example, you can get permission to work if you need the money for tuition fees.

Working during school vacation

Some students can get permission to work only during school vacations, not every time.

Working illegally

Some students can get part-time jobs in offline businesses, such as restaurants, supermarkets, etc., without permission from the school or parents.

They can learn skills that will be useful after graduating from school. Of course, this is illegal if they make money without permission.

Other Regulations and Restrictions to Getting a Job as a Student in Japan?

Getting a part-time job

The school rules for students who want to work are strict.

For example, even during their summer holidays, they may not be allowed to do night shifts.

Although some schools could enable them to study before and work at night, many schools will not give permission.

Getting permission from the police

If you’re underage (14 or under) or a minor (15-18), you need permission from the Police department in charge of the Ordinance.

In that case, it’s difficult for students who want jobs other than in restaurants, barbershops, or nail salons because they can’t get permission.

For example, you need to explain why an underage student needs work.

Even if the parents approve of it, there are few opportunities for students who aren’t legal adults (19 or older).

Getting a part-time job at night as a student

If you’re over 19 and want to be an apprentice, you can only get permission if the school thinks it’s necessary.

You can apply as a student by showing your grades and experience at night, but the age limit is 20.

The restriction doesn’t apply once students reach 21 and older, and they can continue working as apprentices.

Getting a part-time job during school vacation

Students can only get permission if they need to work for tuition fees.

However, if the government financially supports students’ parents (e.g., low-income households), the students don’t get permission.

Getting a part-time job if you’re legally adult

You can work as many hours as you want if it’s not during school days or nights.

Even if students attend school, they can continue working after graduating high school by getting their director’s permission.

But they must say goodbye to school if they don’t want to attend college.

Once you get permission from the police, you can work for as many hours as you want. But it’s better to check with your boss how late you can come.

Remember that working illegally or more than 45 hours per week is strictly prohibited. Even if you have a contract, it means nothing if you get caught.

Nowadays, going from a high school student to a working adult is getting lower and lower. Younger students have part-time jobs, while many undergrads have quit school and tried different things before studying.

The problem is that you can’t become a regular employee once you stop attending school. In that case, having a career will be tough for students.

Do international students get jobs in Japan?

It’s easier for international students to get jobs if they study significant subjects, but it depends on companies.

The employment rate for international students is 37% compared with 55% among Japanese students.

However, the employment rate of those who have studied in Japan is much lower at 15%. 

Some universities recommend international students not work during their stay in Japan.

Can International Students Work in Japan?

You can’t work if you are under 18. Some jobs are prohibited for students under the age of 15.

Minors aged 16 or 17 can only work at night until 9 pm and can’t work after midnight unless their parent’s approval is given.

If they don’t have permission from the police, they will be expelled from school.

Minors who are 15 years old can’t work at all. The maximum hours is 12 on Saturdays and Sundays, and they can’t work more than 3 hours per day on weekdays.

Once they become an adult (18 or 19), international students can get permission to work, but that doesn’t mean they can work anytime.

Some jobs require students to attend school, so they must get their school or college permission.

However, once they graduate from high school and college, they only have two years before finding a job or returning home.

Please refer to the following website for more information about working in Japan.

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