Life Support

Jun 10. 2019Life Support

Must Read for Foreigners Living in Tokyo! Foreigner Consultation Counters in the 23 Tokyo Wards

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1 Regarding Foreigner Consultation Counters

In recent years, one of the most pressing concerns in Japan has been the country's "labor shortage." This labor shortage is linked closely with Japan's population decline. This decline has increased the number of industries with labor shortages, which in turn has increased the demands placed on each individual worker, reducing the overall quality of goods and services.

In order to combat this serious issue, as of April 2019 the Japanese government has decided to ease restrictions on the acceptance of foreign workers in the country. Alongside this new initiative, a series of "consultation counters" for foreigners has been set up throughout Japan. It is hoped that the establishment of these consultation counters will not only aid those that come to Japan for tourism, but will be helpful to foreign workers and students as well.

Therefore, in this article I would like to go into detail regarding the consultation counters in Tokyo's 23 wards. Even if you don't currently live in the Tokyo area, if you're interested in studying abroad or visiting as a tourist, or even if you're interested in the language, please read on!

2 Feeling Uneasy Living in Japan as a Foreigner

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・Differences in Mannerisms and Words

There are many people who feel overwhelmed by the Japanese language's use of honorifics (respectful forms, humble forms, etc). Having to remember the multitude of words to use in specific situations can often be a strong hurdle to overcome! Despite Japan being a developed country, there are still many situations in which using English isn't a possibility.

In addition to language concerns, Japanese mannerisms can vary depending on local traditions, religion, and so on. Many visitors say that it takes time to become accustomed to Japanese conventions.

Another source of unease is that there are not many shops and public facilities that support languages other than Japanese.

・The Ability to Earn a Suitable Income

If you attempt to find a job without taking the time to learn about Japanese culture and customs, you may find it difficult to find work that can provide a living wage. In addition, if you're unable to communicate effectively in Japanese, negotiating your wages or working conditions can be troublesome and can lead to anxiety.

・Finding an Ideal Home

Though there are real estate agencies that offer services in multiple languages, issues such as high rent and the need for guarantors can make finding an ideal place to live quite troublesome. Real estate agencies offering support in languages like English and Chinese are gradually increasing, but your decision on where to live is an incredibly important one. Finding a real estate company that is experienced in helping foreigners is essential for you to be able to confidently look for properties.

3 List of Foreign Consultation Counters in Tokyo's 23 Wards

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・Shinjuku Ward

Location:区役所本庁舎1階

Supported Languages:English, Chinese, Korean

Location:しんじゅく多文化共生プラザ

Supported Languages:English, Chinese, Korean, Burmese, Thai, Nepalese

【Website】https://www.city.shinjuku.lg.jp/tabunka/tabunka01_002042.html

・Chuo Ward

Location:中央区役所6階

Supported Languages:English, Chinese

【Website】https://www.city.chuo.lg.jp/sigoto/sigoto/rodomondai.html

・Minato Ward

Location:南区役所3階

Supported Languages:English

【Website】https://www.city.minato.tokyo.jp/kouhou/kuse/kocho/faq/sodan/004.html

Location:港区国際交流協会外国人相談室(東京都港区北青山1-6-3都営北青山一丁目アパート3号棟 B1F )

Supported Languages:English, Chinese, Korean, Spanish, French (With Appointment)

【Website】http://www.minato-intl-assn.gr.jp/about/access.html

・Taitou Ward

Location: 区役所1階

Supported Languages:English, Chinese, Korean

【Website】http://www.city.taito.lg.jp/index/kurashi/foreigner/sodan.html

・Sumida Ward

Location:すみだ区民相談室 区役所1階

Supported Languages:English, Chinese

【Website】https://www.city.sumida.lg.jp/faq/kurashi/soudan/221.html

・Koto Ward

Location:区役所2階 22番窓口

Supported Languages:Chinese

【Website】https://www.city.koto.lg.jp/101032/kurashi/komyunitei/kokusai/seikatsu/63.html

※Koto Ward holds a free consultation meeting for foreigners each month, held by the Tokyo Metropolitan Administration Shokaikai East Branch. The meeting supports English.

・Shinagawa Ward

Location:区役所第三庁舎3階

Supported Languages:English, Chinese

【Website】https://www.city.shinagawa.tokyo.jp/PC/soudanmado/hpg000033280.html

・Meguro Ward

Location:区役所1階

Supported Languages:English, Chinese, Korean, Tagalog

【Website】http://www.city.meguro.tokyo.jp/kurashi/sodan/gaikokujin.html

・Ota Ward

Location:大田区多文化共生推進センター(大田区蒲田五丁目13番26-101号 消費者生活センター内)

Supported Languages:English, Chinese, Tagalog, Korean, Vietnamese, Nepalese

Supported Languages (With Reservation):Spanish, Portuguese, Thai, Russian, Urdu, Hindi, Bengalese

【Website】https://www.city.ota.tokyo.jp/seikatsu/sodan/gaikokujin.html

・Setagaya Ward

Location:世田谷総合支所

Supported Languages:English, Chinese

【Website】http://www.city.setagaya.lg.jp/soudan/1618/1626/d00004008.html

・Suginami Ward

Location:区役所1階 区政相談課窓口

Supported Languages:English, Chinese

Location:外国人サポートデスク 区役所1階

Supported Languages:English, Chinese, Korean

【Website】http://www.city.setagaya.lg.jp/soudan/1618/1626/d00004008.html

・Toshima Ward

Location:区民相談コーナー 区役所4階

Supported Languages:English, Chinese, Korean

【Website】https://www.city.toshima.lg.jp/info/jp/helpdesks.html

・Kita Ward

Location:区役所第一庁舎3階

Supported Languages:English, Chinese

【Website】http://www.city.kita.tokyo.jp/koho/kuse/koho/kocho/sodan.html

・Arakawa Ward

Location:区役所3階

Supported Languages:English, Chinese, Korean

【Website】http://www.city.arakawa.tokyo.jp/kurashi/sodan.html

・Nerima Ward

Location:地域振興課事業推進係(本庁舎9階)

Supported Languages:English, Chinese, Korean, Tagalog

Location:文化交流ひろば情報コーナー (旧光が丘第五小学校3階)

Supported Languages:English, Chinese, Korean

【Website】https://www.city.nerima.tokyo.jp/kurashi/kokusai/gaikokugosoudan.html

・Adachi Ward

Location: 区役所南館3階

Supported Languages:English, Chinese, Korean

【Website】https://www.city.adachi.tokyo.jp/chiiki/kurashi/sekatsu-mondai/n-g-sodan.html

・Katsushika Ward

Location:区役所2階区民相談室

Supported Languages:English, Chinese

【Website】http://www.city.katsushika.lg.jp/kurashi/1000061/1003798/1003866.html

・Edogawa Ward

Location:グリーンパレス2階

Supported Languages:English, Chinese

【Website】https://www.city.edogawa.tokyo.jp/e009/kurashi/sodanannai/gaikokujin.html

※The above list of Consultation Counters may be subject to change. Please confirm in advance your location's supported languages, available consultation times, and whether or not an appointment is required.

You can find the location of your local office by copying the Japanese addresses listed above into an online map.

4 Lastly

In Japan, where declining birth rates and an aging population base are advancing, the country's saviors will be foreign workers with abundant experience, knowledge, and strength. Living in a foreign country like Japan is not easy, and it's inevitable that there will be aspects of life here that cause unease.

However, in order to resolve these feelings of unease, local and national governments are working together to provide a thorough system of foreign consultation counters to aid foreigners in finding work and adjusting to life in Japan.

There are some jobs that few Japanese people want to do, and certain industries such as agriculture, construction, nursing, and the hospitality sector are suffering serious labor shortages. In these industries in particular, each person can make an extraordinary difference. Of course, many other industries require your strength as well.

Living in Japan does present some inconveniences and dissatisfactions, but if you have even a small interest in living and working in the country, or if you have questions regarding your daily life here, why not take the opportunity to visit a foreigner consultation counter?