The Japanese government is considering introducing its own visa program specifically for individuals known as digital nomads. This visa would be aimed at individuals who pursue remote work while traveling to various locations around the world.
The government aims to increase spending by international visitors to Japan by fostering an atmosphere that makes it easier for highly skilled workers to stay in the country. It is responding to the growing number of European and other countries that have introduced visas for digital nomads.
Typically, digital nomads work on projects like software development and website design that can be done from anywhere using digital tools.
There are believed to be 35 million digital nomads worldwide, and their annual spending is estimated at about ¥110 trillion (S$1.06 trillion), according to data obtained abroad.
The government is developing an action plan to bring the number of foreign travelers to Japan back to pre-pandemic levels.
The government will study barriers to welcoming digital nomads, including those related to visas and residency status, according to the plan, which is expected to be completed in May.
69 countries and territories have a visa waiver agreement with Japan, although the length of stay is only up to 90 days.
The government is considering providing a visa that would allow digital nomads to stay in the country for more than 90 days, because according to a survey conducted abroad, about 66 percent of them stay in one place for three to six months.
Currently, a work visa is required to work in Japan for more than 90 days.
However, employees who receive their salary from foreign companies are not eligible. To obtain a work visa, a company must have its headquarters in Japan.
Some countries in Europe, Central and South America have begun offering digital nomads visa programs that allow them to stay in the countries for between six months and two years.