Living in Japan

Advice for British people living in Japan, including information on health, employment, benefits, driving licences and more.


This guide sets out essential information for British national residing in Japan, including advice on health, benefits, residence requirements and more. We are unable to provide any guidance on general lifestyle enquiries apart from the information and links listed below. See our information on what consulates can and cannot do for British nationals.


Medical facilities in Japan are good. British nationals resident in Japan should consider contacting their local ward or city office about what healthcare options may be available. For non-residents, see our Travel Advice for further information.

Entry and residence

See our Travel Advice for information on entry requirements to Japan, including employment and other visa categories. The Tokyo International Communication Committee also has detailed information.

The Immigration Bureau of Japan has details on the residency management system for foreign nationals.


The Tokyo International Communication Committee has detailed information on pensions in Japan. To find out about any benefits you may be entitled to in Japan, British nationals should contact their local ward or city office.

See the information on benefits you might be able to get while being abroad and how to claim them.

You need to tell the relevant government offices that deal with your benefits, pension and tax that you are moving or retiring abroad.

New policy on proof of ‘Life Certificates’

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has changed their policy on who can now sign these ‘Life Certificates’. This now reflects the list of people who can countersign a passport photograph. Please read the DWP’s guide state pension if you retire abroad.

Driving licences and vehicles

See our Travel Advice for general information on driving licences in Japan. If you intend to stay in Japan for longer than one year, you should apply for a Japanese driving licence. For more information and details of offices where you can apply for a Japanese licence, visit the Japanese Automobile Federation website.

See our information about renewing UK driving licences.


The Tokyo International Communication Committee has detailed information on taxation in Japan.

Guidance on bringing medication into Japan

See our Travel Advice for general information on bringing medication into Japan. The Japanese Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare also has information on medication for personal use.


This information is provided as a general guide and is based upon information provided to the embassy by the relevant local authorities and may be subject to change at any time with little or no notice. The FCO and the British embassy will not be liable for any inaccuracies in this information. British nationals wishing to obtain any further information must contact the relevant local authority.

Published 28 May 2013