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Spotlight on APAC Series: Japan

In our Spotlight on APAC series we round up the latest immigration developments across the region.  In this post we focus on Japan’s amended notification for ‘specified activities’ which will add Digital Nomad visa to the ‘Special Activities’ status.


What is the Special Activities System in Japan?

Japan’s Immigration Control Act categorises activities conducted by foreigners for the purpose of entering and staying in Japan (residence activities) and stipulates the criteria for residency activities and their types as status of residence.  Such activities are specifically designated by the Minister of Justice for individual foreign nationals under the Act.  The content of the Specified Activities shall be determined by the Notification of Specified Activities (Article 7, Paragraph 1, Item 2 of the Immigration Control Act).

At the end of March 2024 a Notice came into force to amend the Notification 1 for Specified Activities and this now means that under the Immigration Control Act the ‘Digital Nomad’ visa will be added to ‘special activities’ status as a status of residence.

This move by Japan’s Government to accommodate Digital Nomads and provide a visa route is aimed at boosting the economy and promoting innovation for the country.   It follows on the back of a number of other APAC countries such as Malaysia and South Korea that have implemented Digital Nomad visa routes.


Points to Note

Under the recent revision to the Notification the Specified Activities are:

“Activities in which the organisation uses information and communication technology to engage in business at its business establishment in a foreign country using information and communication technology based on an employment contract with a corporation or other foreign organisation established in accordance with the laws and regulations of a foreign country, or an activity that uses information and communication technology to provide services or sell goods to a person in a foreign country for a fee (excluding those that cannot be provided or sold without entering Japan)” (Notification of Specified Activities) No. 53)’

Specifically, this includes remote work, IT/software development, digital designers, online secrets, and sole proprietors who manage the business of foreign companies.


In addition, in order for a digital nomad to be granted a status of residence, in addition to the above definitions, the following four requirements are required:

(1) The period of stay in Japan designated as a “Specified Activity” for digital nomads does not exceed 6 months out of one year. Note that this cannot be renewed.

(2) Nationals of countries and regions that are parties to tax treaties and exempt from short-term visas (49 countries and regions are eligible)

(3) The annual income must be 10 million yen or more at the time of application.

(4) Covered by insurance in the event of death, injury, or illness during the individual’s stay in Japan.


Dependants of ‘Digital Nomad’ remote workers

The revision also goes further to accept the dependants of Digital Nomads as a specific activity and residence status.  ‘Daily activities of a spouse or child of an international remote worker’ (Notification of Specified Activities No.54) was added.

The period of stay is also limited to six months and cannot be renewed.  The family members must also have medical insurance to cover them in Japan.


If you would like more information on visas for Japan and the implementation of the Digital Nomad route please contact [email protected] and Rachel Ang at [email protected].


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