Cost of living in Japan, prices and what it is like to live for an Expat, quality of life / hardship, and compare cost of living for Expatriates as at April 2020. What is it like to live in Japan?
Japan is an island chain between the North Pacific Ocean and the Sea of Japan, east of the Korean Peninsula.
The climate varies from tropical in the south to cool temperate in the north.
The official language is Japanese. Many Japanese business people who deal with foreigners speak good English, but business negotiations are often conducted through an interpreter. It is unwise to try to speak Japanese in business meetings, even with a relatively high degree of fluency. However, in social contexts some familiarity with the Japanese language or Japanese customs will be greatly appreciated. English is spoken in major hotels and in shops catering for tourists, but only minimally elsewhere.
The main religions are Shintoism and Buddhism.
The economy of Japan is the second largest in the world, after the United States at around $5 trillion USD in terms of nominal GDP and third after the United States and China when adjusted for purchasing power parity. Banking, insurance, real estate, retailing, transportation, telecommunications and construction are all major industries. Japan has a large industrial capacity and is home to some of the largest, leading and most technologically advanced producers of motor vehicles, electronic equipment, machine tools, steel and nonferrous metals, ships, chemicals, textiles and processed foods. The service sector accounts for three quarters of the gross domestic product.
Japanese culture is governed by a strict code of manners. The Japanese do not expect expatriates to be familiar with all customs, it is important to try to adapt to Japanese Protocols. Expatriate dress code is typically formal and conservative. Men should wear a suit and women should wear either a dress or a suit. The safety risk for expatriates in Japan is low. Risks are mainly low levels of crime in urban areas. Other risks include earthquakes and tsunamis, that can cause widespread damage and disruption.
The currency of Japan is the Japanese Yen (JPY). Japan is mainly a cash society. Cards issued outside Japan are not widely accepted. Many post offices, 7-Eleven stores and Citi Bank branches have ATMs, which will accept some foreign cards during business hours.
Health care facilities are excellent, but the cost of treatment is expensive and often requires immediate payment in full.
The population is 126.7 Million (2019 est.), and the inflation rate (CPI) is 0.4% for Japan as at February 2020.
The Xpatulator Hypothetical Tax for Japan is based on the current personal income tax rates which are progressive up to 45%.
Within Japan we also cover
Fukuoka, Kawasaki, Kobe, Kyoto, Nagoya, Osaka, Tokyo, Sapporo, and Yokohama.
Cost Of Living
What is the cost of living in Japan?
The cost of living for expatriates in Japan as at April 2020 is very high in comparison to other places in the world. We have collected prices for the same items, world wide, based on Expat spending norms, in or closest to the location, and converted them to $USD so that we can compare the cost of 13 different baskets in 780 global locations. For each basket, compared to New York, the equivalent cost in Japan is as follows:
1) Alcohol and/or Tobacco: for items such as beer, spirits, wine and tobacco related products such as cigarettes. A basket costing USD$1000 in New York costs USD$730. Average price in a store for a midrange bottle of wine is USD$15.12, domestic/local beer (500ml) USD$3.17, imported/international beer (330ml) USD$4.15 and a pack of 20 cigarettes is USD$5.81. 2) Clothing: for items such as business, casual and children's clothing and footwear. A basket costing USD$1000 in New York costs USD$840. Average price for an international brand of mens jeans is USD$64, a quality international brand of running shoes USD$75, mens leather shoes suitable for office wear USD$109 while a medium size international summer dress from a global chain store is USD$40. 3) Communication: for various communication costs such as home telephone rental, internet subscription, mobile service provider tariff and data costs. A basket costing USD$200 in New York costs USD$308. Average price for a monthly standard plan internet subscription is USD$44, while the benchmark mobile tariff is USD$0.35 per minute. 4) Education: for items such as creche / pre-school fees, primary school fees, high school fees and tertiary study fees. A basket costing USD$30000 in New York costs USD$29400. Average annual private international school fee (excluding extras) USD$19,017 for Primary School, and USD$21,162 for High School. 5) Furniture & Appliances: for items such as dining table and chairs, home entertainment, kitchen appliances, and sofas. A basket costing USD$2500 in New York costs USD$1325. Average price for a 6kg front loader Washing Machine is USD$585, and USD$502 for a 46+'' LED UHD TV. 6) Groceries: for items such as consumables, cleaning products, dairy, fresh fruit & vegetables, general food products, snacks, soft drinks. A basket costing USD$1000 in New York costs USD$830. Average grocery prices in a major international retail store for 1 kg apples is USD$8.76, 1 kg oranges USD$6.81, 1 head lettuce USD$2.37, 1 kg potatos USD$4.81, 1 kg boneless, skinless, chicken breast USD$9.53, 1 kg cheddar cheese USD$21.36, 1 dozen large eggs USD$2.74, 500g loaf white bread USD$2.38, 1 L full cream milk USD$2.24, and 1.5 L water USD$1.50. 7) Healthcare: for general heath care, doctor visits, hospital stays, non-prescription medicine, and medical insurance. A basket costing USD$1000 in New York costs USD$640. Average healthcare cost for a private practice Doctor visit for an uninsured patient is USD$52, and a private hospital stay per day including nursing care, medications, diagnostic tests, food, and related costs is USD$1,597. 8) Household Accommodation: for items such as apartment rent, house rent, property purchase, mortgage rate, and utilities. A basket costing USD$5000 in New York costs USD$3450. Average expatriate house / apartment rent for a secure upmarket unfurnished apartment (3 bedrooms) is USD$4,118 in a central location, and USD$2,387 in a suburban location, per month, excluding utilities. 9) Miscellaneous: for items such as dry cleaning, linen, magazines, newspapers, office supplies, and postage stamps. A basket costing USD$500 in New York costs USD$335. Average price for dry cleaning (1 mens 2 pc suit) is USD$6.57, while an international newspaper is USD$2.02. 10) Personal Care: for items such as cosmetics, hair care, and toiletries. A basket costing USD$500 in New York costs USD$275. Average cost for a mens haircut and blow dry is USD$22, while a womens hair colour, cut and blow dry - medium length is USD$111. 11) Recreation & Culture: for items such as books, cinema, sport and theatre tickets. A basket costing USD$500 in New York costs USD$425. Average price for a latest release international cinema ticket (average of on and off peak where applicable) for one adult is USD$21.76, and an international fitness, recreation or sports club membership cost for one adult is USD$105 per month. 12) Restaurants Meals Out and Hotels: for items such as hotel daily room rates, meals and beverages in a restaurant, and take away food and beverages. A basket costing USD$1000 in New York costs USD$590. Average cappuccino price (regular, medium) is USD$4.73, coke/pepsi (330ml) USD$1.64, burger meal (international franchise or similar) USD$8.23, and a mid-range international restaurant meal for 2 USD$48.37. 13) Transport: for items such as fuel (petrol/gasoline), car hire, public transport, vehicle purchase and maintenance. A basket costing USD$1000 in New York costs USD$1060. Average average price over the last year for highest available octane petrol / gasoline (1L) is USD$1.33, while the benchmark car sedan purchase price including taxes/duties for a compact / small / economy vehicle (1.4 L) is USD$23,618. How does the cost of living in Japan compare?
Japan is 11.9% more expensive than USA for groceries, 21.9% more expensive for household costs than UK, and 125.2% more expensive for transport costs than India.
What is the quality of life / hardship in Japan?
Japan is ranked as a some hardship location.The hardship premium for Japan for an expat from Australia, is for example 10%, i.e. host location (Japan) premium of 20% minus home (Australia) location premium of 10%.
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