The Japanese dream of elsewhere, tired of the archaism of their country

“It was a friend who advised me to come. » Today in Australia, Yuki Mizuno does not regret his departure from Japan at the beginning of 2022. Employed in a restaurant in Sydney, he receives nearly 400,000 yen (2,772 euros) per month. “For a similar job in Japan, I would be at 190,000 yen. There I can save. Life is more pleasant. I work four days a week. »

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At 25, Mr. Mizuno has bet on more profitable horizons and a better balance between private and professional life. As for many Japanese, the future is taking shape far from an Archipelago chained to dated habits, such as not taking paid leave so as not to disrupt a service or not leaving the office before your superior.

Europe, the United States, Australia but also Southeast Asia – Thailand is popular – are becoming privileged destinations. Like Mr. Mizuno, Hidemi Fujita moved to Sydney, where she works as a caregiver and has seen her income double to 800,000 yen a month. “The Japanese are appreciated for their politeness and seriousness”explains the 28-year-old woman, who dreams of creating her own home care agency.

“Salary, work environment, social diversity, tolerance”

Admittedly, the statistics do not show a wave of mass departures from the Archipelago. The total number of Japanese living abroad, 1.3 million, fell 2.7% in 1er October 2022, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, according to the Japanese Ministry of Justice.

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However, several signs testify to a growing interest in expatriation, a phenomenon widely relayed by the Japanese press. Requests for information for positions outside the country were 1.5 times more numerous in 2022 than in 2021, explained, at the beginning of March, in the daily nihon keizai shinbun, Satsuki Tamura, founder of GJJ, an overseas career change support company. Previously, most applicants were under the age of 40, graduates from prestigious universities. Today, requests also come from people in their fifties and sixties.

“More and more people find North America and Western Europe more attractive than Japan in terms of salary, work environment, social diversity and tolerance”confirms Tsukasa Sasai, professor at the prefectural university of Fukui, specializing in demographic issues.

Feeling of downgrading

The first reason for expatriation is pecuniary: wages have stagnated in Japan since the 1990s, due to the accelerated development of precarious jobs, after the bursting of the speculative bubble at the end of the 1980s. The sharp depreciation of the yen in 2022 against the euro or the dollar has only aggravated a certain feeling of downgrading in the world’s third-largest economy, where incomes brought back in dollars are now lower than those of South Korea. South, of Italy and France.

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