We interviewed Manabu Kubota, the secretary general of the International Students Support Network, about hurdles international students have to clear when applying for a job in Japan.
“First is the Japanese recruitment system, “shukatsu.” Shukatsu has special rules that require you to wear a certain kind of clothes for the interview, follow a set recruitment schedule, as well as filling entry sheets, etc. that are unique to Japan. Universities are not advising their international students properly on these rules, making the process very confusing for many.
“Second is the Japanese language fluency sufficient for business use. Students learn Japanese for academic use at universities, but advanced communication skills are required at work, such as intuiting the other person’s meaning even if it is not verbalized. The third is lack of information specifically targeting international students who are looking for a job.
“Universities are not doing enough to remove these obstacles, and that is preventing international students from getting hired. For example, only few schools conduct job search information sessions designed for foreign students. They need thorough instruction because big differences exist between the Japanese employment system and overseas employment systems.
“Regional economies have more issues, such as the overwhelming scarcity of job information for international students. Many local corporations cannot distinguish between international students and trainees of the government training programs. Career support agents for international students exist in big cities, but not in small towns. Only universities and municipalities can improve the situation.” (Abridged)