10 Facts About – Tokyo
With over 32 million residents, Tokyo is the largest and most-populated metropolitan area in the world. Along with New York and London, Japan’s capital has been described as one of the three command centres of the world’s economy, serving as a hub to Japan’s transportation, publishing and broadcasting industries. Tokyo is also host to a number of the world’s largest investment banks and insurance companies headquarters and is an ever popular destination for expatriates looking to relocate to a new country.
In this article we will look 5 important factors to consider when looking to relocate to Tokyo, as well as 5 more fun facts about this incredible capital.
5 important facts about working in Tokyo city:
Tokyo is known for its transportation links and the quality of its services. With a tube / underground, one of the world’s most advanced train networks and a vast bus network there are many transportation options to choose from. However, there are a number of factors to consider. With such overpopulation in the city comes a huge impact on transportation and congestion. The roads are heavily congested, especially during peak hours, so travelling anywhere by road can take a long time, and due to the huge numbers of people using the train and tube networks overcrowding is a common issue.
The below video demonstrates some of the issues that commuters using the tube in Tokyo face.
It is important therefore to consider your transportation options and commute to and from work thoroughly before finalising your move to Tokyo as this can impact heavily on your working and personal life.
2. Income tax
Whilst Japan isn’t a tax haven, offering expatriates with an income-free salary, the taxation of income isn’t as high as other countries, depending of course on the amount that you earn.
Income tax in Japan is between 5% and 50% (40% national + 10% local) and anyone earning between $88197.94 – $114,213.14 USD* pays only 23% income tax.
*based on the tax rates in 2012
However, in addition to income tax, an additional prefecture and municipality tax is imposed on expatriates. The tax is known as ‘Inhabitants Tax’ and is charged at a flat rate of 10% (can fluctuate in different municipalities).
3. Cost of living
The cost of living in Tokyo is incredibly high compared to many other popular expatriate destinations and therefore owns the title of ‘most expensive city in the world for expatriates’, a title bestowed by Mercer. As a result money management in the city is essential.
The cost of renting a property is also very high, and with such limited space available to build the size of living space is greatly reduced. The cost of renting a furnished 2 bedroom apartment in the city centre can typically cost as much as $15,000 USD per month and larger apartments or houses in the suburban areas can cost even more due to the high demand of larger living spaces.
There is little room for financial error in Tokyo so ensuring that you have planned your expenses and living costs and constantly manage your finances in this city is essential.
4. Language barrier
On the whole the Japanese don’t speak many other languages and whilst Tokyo is a very large city, English is not widely spoken. Ordering goods or services, booking a cinema ticket or even arrange medical treatments can be very difficult if you do not know any Japanese, so it is essential to learn the basics of the language.
Ensure that you take lessons in Japanese before you relocate so that your move over to the city is as painless as possible. Learning the language will also help you to integrate into the community and begin to make friends with the local residents.
5. Cultural differences
There are many cultural differences in personal and business life in Japan, such as bowing instead of shaking hands, so it is essential to learn these as you go along – and to learn the basics before you relocate. Whilst you’re unlikely to make enemies by not knowing all the cultural differences and basic mannerisms in Japan, you will greatly help yourself and your integration into the city by understanding them – Japanese people are on the whole very friendly and welcoming, so embracing their ways of life will put you one step ahead.
5 fun facts about life in Tokyo city:
Here are 5 more fun and light hearted facts about living in Tokyo.
1. Tokyo has the highest GDP in the whole world for a city
2. Japan’s literacy rate is almost 100%
3. Japan imports almost 85% of Jamaica’s total coffee production
4. Sumo is the national sport of Japan
5. Slurping your food, especially noodles, is a compliment to the cook, and it cools the noodles down
It is important to do your research on a location wherever in the world you move, but with a country such as Japan it is even more important as the culture is so different from anywhere else and it is not a Westernised country by any stretch of the mark. As one of the most expensive cities in the world for expatriates money management is key, so ensure you have taken all of the costs of living and relocation into considering when accepting a position over there.
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