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Japan has a number of sectors which offer internships for international students at undergraduate, graduate and doctoral levels. Students of most areas of study can find an organization or company that has a suitable internship program. Most of these internship programs are open to nationals of all countries, yet not everyone is able to participate in an internship in Japan as many of the internships are unpaid.

Not all internships in Japan are unpaid. There are paid ones available, but often certain terms and conditions attached to them make them equivalent to unpaid ones. So, venture capital – a cool way to improve – if you’re interested in an internship in Japan, you should be ready to accept this, and make arrangements to finance your internship on your own.

Some reasons behind internships in Japan being unpaid include:

* Language Barrier:

Japanese is a hard language to learn and understand. Most international interns do not have sufficient command over the language, which means their employer has to issue instructions and conduct your training in English. The other option would be for them to provide you with an intensive Japanese language course. In both options, the company has to put in extra effort, time and money to complete your training. It would be simpler for them to just hire local Japanese staff.

* Cultural Difference:

Japan’s culture is vastly different from western countries. Japanese culture is steeped in tradition and the work atmosphere is formal and serious. As a foreigner you might find this cultural gap hard to overcome. Just like with language, the company may have to make special effort to help you get settled into your role and through the cultural barrier. This could mean having to assign another foreign employee who is fluent in Japanese as your training guide, which again increases the cost to the company of training you.

* Food and Accommodation:

Some companies providing internship opportunities in Japan may also offer food and accommodation as part of the package. The cost of living in Japan can cost around $1,000 per month, which would be paid by the company. Many companies offset this additional expenditure by not paying a salary for the internship. On the other hand, it’s likely that companies who offer paid internships would not offer free food or accommodation. In this case, you would end up paying for these out of your internship salary, which practically works out the same as doing an unpaid internship.

* Local Demand:

The demand for internships in Japan from local students is also high. Often, these students are more than willing to complete unpaid internships, as there is no need for them to bear any additional cost of food or accommodation. Local government too would favour companies giving first preference to local candidates. In many cases, the only way a company could justify accepting foreign interns would be if they are unpaid ones.

* Cost Factor:

Accepting and reviewing international applications, and fulfilling government obligations and requirements are all cost factors for companies. Any company accepting international students for an internship must keep these cost factors in mind. If an intern is unpaid, the company would find it worth the effort to go through all the necessary motions.

If you’re looking for Japan Internships, we’re here to help you. Let us help you source, apply, prepare for, and participate in Japan Internships today.