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A Comprehensive Guide for U.S. Companies Hiring Talent in Japan

Navigating the complexities of operating in a foreign country is no small feat, especially when it comes to hiring and managing employees. Japan, with its unique blend of traditional values and cutting-edge technology, presents both opportunities and challenges for American companies looking to expand their workforce. This guide aims to provide a comprehensive overview of what U.S. companies need to know when hiring talent in Japan, ensuring compliance with local laws and cultural norms, and making a strong case for using Employment of Record (EOR) services like Gonex.



Japan is an attractive market for many American businesses due to its advanced economy, high level of education, and strong work ethic. However, hiring in Japan is not as straightforward as it might be in the United States. From navigating complex employment laws to understanding cultural nuances, there are several factors to consider. This guide will help you understand these intricacies, and why partnering with an EOR service like Gonex can be your best move.


Navigating Japanese Employment Laws

Understanding the legal landscape is crucial for any company looking to hire employees in Japan. Japanese labor laws are designed to protect employees, and non-compliance can result in severe penalties.

Key Legal Requirements

Labor Contracts 

Employment contracts must be in writing and include details such as job description, working hours, salary, and termination conditions.

Probation periods are generally between 3 to 6 months.

Work Hours and Overtime 

Standard work hours are 8 hours per day and 40 hours per week.

Overtime must be compensated, with rates increasing based on the time and day of the additional work.

Termination Procedures 

Termination requires a 30-day notice period or payment in lieu of notice.

There are no statutory severance pay requirements, but it is common practice to offer some form of compensation.


Taxation and Payroll Management

Japan’s taxation system can be intricate, involving various types of taxes that both employers and employees need to be aware of.

Employer and Employee Contributions

Employer Contributions 

Employers are required to contribute to social insurance, which includes health insurance, pension insurance, unemployment insurance, and worker’s compensation insurance.

These contributions can amount to approximately 15% of the employee’s salary.

Employee Contributions 

Employees also contribute to social insurance, with deductions typically around 15% of their salary.

Income tax is progressive, with rates ranging from 5% to 45%.

Payroll Management 

Payroll is generally processed monthly, with payday often falling on the 25th of each month.

Bonuses are common, with a “13th-month” bonus typically paid in June and a “14th-month” bonus in December.


Cultural Sensitivity and Workplace Norms

Cultural understanding is essential for managing a successful team in Japan. Ignoring cultural norms can lead to misunderstandings and decreased employee satisfaction.

Key Cultural Considerations

Respect and Hierarchy 

Japanese workplaces are often hierarchical. Respect for seniority and titles is crucial.

Decision-making can be a slow process as it often requires consensus.

Communication Styles 

Indirect communication is common. Employees may avoid saying “no” directly to maintain harmony.

Non-verbal cues are important. Paying attention to body language and tone can provide additional context.

Work Ethic and Loyalty 

Employees are generally very dedicated and may expect long work hours.

Building strong relationships and showing loyalty to your team can enhance engagement and productivity.


Benefits of Using EOR Services

Partnering with an Employment of Record (EOR) service like Gonex can simplify the complexities of hiring in Japan. EOR services manage all aspects of employment, from legal compliance to payroll and benefits administration.

Advantages of EOR Services

Reduced Administrative Burden 

EOR services handle all administrative tasks, allowing your HR team to focus on strategic initiatives.

This includes managing payroll, taxes, and compliance with Japanese labor laws.

Enhanced Compliance 

EOR providers ensure that your company adheres to all local regulations, reducing the risk of legal issues and penalties.

They keep up-to-date with any changes in legislation, so you don’t have to.

Increased Flexibility 

EOR services offer flexible solutions that can be tailored to your business needs, whether you’re hiring one employee or an entire team.

This flexibility is especially beneficial for companies testing the waters in a new market.



Expanding your workforce in Japan can be a rewarding endeavor, but it requires careful planning and a deep understanding of local laws and cultural norms. By partnering with an EOR service like Gonex, you can streamline the hiring process, ensure compliance, and focus on growing your business. Take the first step towards building a successful team in Japan by exploring the benefits of using Gonex as your EOR partner. 

So, if you are considering expanding your business to Japan, remember to keep these aspects in mind and consider the advantages of partnering with an EOR service for a smooth and successful transition. With this guide, you now have a better understanding of Japanese employment laws, taxation and payroll management, cultural sensitivity, and the benefits of using EOR services. We hope this will serve as a helpful resource for your company’s expansion into the dynamic market of Japan. Keep exploring new opportunities and stay ahead in the global economy with Gonex by your side!


Key Points:

International human resources agency

Partnering with an international human resources agency like Gonex ensures that your expansion into Japan is seamless and compliant with local regulations. Our services cover all aspects of employment, from payroll and tax management to navigating complex Japanese labor laws.


Best global employer of record

Choosing the best global employer of record is crucial for successful international expansion. Gonex offers unparalleled EOR services in Japan, managing everything from legal compliance to cultural integration. Let us handle the complexities while you focus on growing your business.


Remote tech talent

Access remote tech talent in Japan effortlessly with Gonex. Our EOR services simplify the hiring process, ensuring compliance with Japanese labor laws and managing payroll and taxes efficiently. Expand your team globally without the administrative burden.

Why Gonex?

Experienced Management Team: each member in the team has 10+ years experiences in Overseas Human Resources Management, composed of seasoned HR professionals.

Powerful connection: Gonex has established over 10 entities worldwide, along with more than 30 stable partners, together offering the most comprehensive overseas human resource services to our clients.

Strict compliance with laws and regulations: At every step in our service process, Gonex strictly adheres to local laws and regulations, ensuring our clients completely avoid any legal disputes.

Competitive price: Gonex’s services are 20% more affordable compared to other companies in the industry, allowing our clients to allocate more resources to their core business.


What Gonex offer?

Employment of Record: This service helps clients legally hire employees in countries or regions where they do not have a legal entity established.

Payroll BPO service: This includes payroll project implementation plan development, project deployment, payroll calculation, payment of funds, administration of statutory and supplementary benefits, customized reporting, and other comprehensive payroll services.

Global Mobility: Based on the company’s internationalization strategy, the company assigns employees to overseas branches/subsidiaries and handles visa and tax matters in accordance with local policies, while assisting in the compliance management of employees throughout their international assignment life cycle.


GONEX One-Stop Solution: Your strategic partner

Compliance and Legal Adherence: GONEX’s Employer of Record (EOR) service ensures legal compliance in employing local staff.

Cross-Border Payroll and Tax Management: Streamlined payroll services simplify cross-border management.

Flexible Employment Solutions: Adaptable employment services cater to changing business needs.

International Talent Dispatch: Support services facilitate the dispatch of key talent to overseas.

Digital HR Management Platform: Technology-driven solutions enhance management efficiency and cultural integration.


Who do we serve?

Gonex served 70+ clients to expand overseas. The incomes of our clients like Mengniu, Kuaishou and CHINT are up to 192.4 billion.


Let Gonex assist you and your company with handling such complex overseas hiring processes! To access more information on corporate international expansion cases, global employment guidelines, worldwide compensation management, regulations for various regional countries, and factory establishment manuals in different nations, you are welcome to visit the GONEX official website at www.letsgonex.com to download these resources or view our company’s business introduction in PDF format (https://letsgonex.com/in.pdf).

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