Advantage and Disadvantages of Japanese Nationals Working in the Philippines

“Teaching is learning. Teaching is enriching. Teaching is challenging, it’s trying in unimaginable ways. Teaching is motivating, it’s inspiring. Teaching is frustrating, it’s frightening. Teaching is growing. Teaching is loving. Teaching is a blessing. And being a teacher means that I have a lot to learn.” (anjaligill, 2011) A quote I have read on one article on the internet that actually touched my heart. I am not a teacher but appreciate the hardships of teachers throughout their journey to imparting to us student all they can for us to have a better future.

Yes we have a lot of teachers here in our country but learning is not limited to only our country. Because of media and many other sources or information we have been exposed to other cultures and languages from many different countries. Thus which lead to us wanting to learn other culture and languages.

Some of these languages are Korean, Japanese, Spanish, and French. And who else are more capable in teaching us these languages than the natives of theses languages themselves.

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That is why this study aims to shed a light on the existence of Japanese Language teachers that are working in the country. The first part of this paper is going to touch upon the rules that’s the immigration imposes on these aliens that wish to enter the country. What kind of permits and visas that must be secured in order to be able to work. Also it talks about the role of the Department Of Labor and Employment (DOLE) in allowing these aliens to have a fair and legal job here.

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The second part of my report talks about the different issues that these aliens have encountered over their years of working in the Philippines. For years now we have been hearing about the melodramatic life of an OFW, we’ve had a lot of articles on the different experience they have out there. But have we ever given a thought about these foreigners that come to our country not as tourist, but to look for jobs? Probably as teachers? What more these Japanese nationals working in Davao as Japanese language teachers?

We’ve been so focused on Filipinos that we forget to check on these other people who are also making a living here in our country. This paper will try to shed a light on what are the most common difficulties and what are the measures they took in order to be able to overcome these obstacles.

And I am hoping to gather these datas through interviewing some Japanese nationals residing in the country specially Davao. A. What are the necessary visa and permits these Japanese nationals must secure in order to be able to work in the country? B. Are they given enough compensation and benefits in their jobs? C. Why of all other country would they choose Philippines? D. What are the different experiences they have here?

For the last part this paper will try to compile the gathered data and express what are the common advantages and disadvantages of experienced by these Japanese Language teachers working in the Philippines? Those are just some of a few things this study aims to shed a light on, and to give the readers a deeper understanding on their situation through their experiences.

Review of Related Literature

1. Japanese Language as a Profession

When we hear the word Japanese Language most of us would think: oh that’s all about kanji!” “That is a very hard language to learn”. Yes it is true, it is not an easy language to learn but it is also one of the most interesting of all. With all the variations in the conjugation of every word, to all the particles for every sentence, but most especially to the different strokes in their unique 3 writing styles namely hiragana katakana and kanji. In the beginning yeah it will be hard but in the long run you will be able to appreciate all the hardships you have gone through in order to reach that level.

So because of that many people have engaged in learning the language. Some would say that if you really want to learn something you have to do it yourself. But then again because of the complexity of this language it has become hard for others. That is why we have come to the conclusion that who else is more capable to teach us the complicated and very meticulous language than these Japanese nationals themselves? But then again this poses a very big hindrance when it comes to language barriers. It is because before Japan has been a very secluded country that doesn’t want to open up to other country.

That’s is why even though some Japanese wanted to teach Japanese it would be hard for them since that not all Japanese know English and since English is the universal language communication and explanation would be hard. But as years pass by and as Japan slowly open their doors to other countries, international colleges started to rise and because of this the Japanese nationals studying in such colleges are being exposed to the word and thus they became aware of the eagerness of other people to learn their language which triggered a domino effect to theses Japanese to teach them.

2. Philippine and Japan relation in terms of work

Over the years the Philippines was known by the world as major exporter of skilled workers. They even have this saying that there is no country in the world that does not have Filipinos in it. From that this study aims to focus on the Japanese citizens working in the country. For decades there has been a noticeable relationship between Japan and the Philippines. May it be in terms of trading of goods, and even official development assistance funds also known as the (ODA). The relationship of these two countries not only varies in goods and monetary sector but even in human resources. The Philippines is reputed to be the leading exporter of labor in the world, ranging from the semi-skilled to professional and technical workers (CORTEZ, 2009).

This greatly impacted on the yearly remittances that the OFW’s give to the country. At the same time Japanese engineers, managers, experts and other skilled workers have entered the Philippines to accompany, implement and manage the huge direct investments and overseas development assistance programs of Japan (Tereso S. Tullao, Jr. and Michael Angelo A. Cortez, 2004). The Japanese have remained the largest group of foreign workers in the country over the years (OECD 2001). This then greatly impacted the country in terms of tourism.

3. Naturals working overseas

Due to the growing economic crisis in the world most people opt to work in other country to look for “greener pastures”. Approximately eight million Filipinos are overseas, representing almost ten percent of the nation’s population (Commission on Filipinos Overseas, 2004). And one good example to these is the growing migration rate in the Philippines. Where in most Filipinos think that because of the economic crisis in the Philippines and the Low salary that working overseas became a better option. Yes they may have big salaries and they may be able to experience other culture but at the end of the day these OFW’s would have to sacrifice being with their family for money.

4. Language Barriers

In order to be able to teach students, communication is important and in communication Language is vital. This is what makes learning easy. Because through language student will be able to understand what the teacher wants to deliver. But in teaching language something these language barriers pose a very big problem. Especially for those language teachers who are native speakers of the language they are teaching and only know a little English.

English, with its many varieties, is a language of international and therefore intercultural communication. (Sharifian, 2009). But then we all know that there are still some countries that are not open to accepting English as an international language and Japan is one of them. The people being raised to love their own country in other words in the ways of patriotism it became hard for them to open up an accept changes being brought by the modern world.

Definition of terms

1) (AEP) Alien Employment Permit is a document issued by the Department of Labor and Employment which authorizes a foreign national to work in the Philippines. 2) Alien shall refer to the foreign nationals who intend to work in the country.

Japanese Workers

I. Immigration

All foreign nationals can freely enter the Philippines with only a passport and other travel documents for business, leisure, and social visits. The Philippine Immigration Act of 1940 states Foreigners or “non-quota immigrants” may be admitted without considering such numerical limitations (CASTRO, August).

The country has not been strict on allowing foreigners to enter, In fact Nationals from some countries are allowed to enter the Philippines without visas for a stay not exceeding twenty-one (21) days, provided they hold valid tickets for their return journey to port of origin or next port of destination (Bureau of Immigration 2007-2008), Japan being one of these countries are allowed to enter the country without visa. They must present for admission into the Philippines unexpired passports or official documents in the nature of passports issued by the governments of the countries to which they owe allegiance or other travel documents showing their origin and identity.

II. Department Of Labor and Employment (DOLE)

But when it comes to employment the Philippines is very strict at letting foreigners to work in the country. These aliens need to secure certain visas and permits before they can actually work here. Some of these are the a)Alien Employment Permit (AEP), b)Special Work permit, and the c)9g Prearranged Employment Visa.

a) Alien Employment Permit (AEP) is a document issued by the Department of Labor and Employment which authorizes a foreign national to work in the Philippines. This permit must be petitioned by a company to allow a foreigner to work locally and is the requirement for a 9g visa as well as several other visas. The employment permit may be issued to a non-resident alien or to the applicant employer after a determination of the non-availability of a person in the Philippines who is competent, able and willing at the time of application to perform the services for which the alien is desired (Labor Code of the Philippines PD 442, Article 40).

Article 41 of the Labor Code provides: “After the issuance of employment permit, the alien shall not transfer to another job or change his employer without prior approval of Secretary of Labor and Employment.” In addition the alien who is found to be working without an AEP or an expired AEP shall pay a fine of Ten Thousand Pesos (P10,000) for every year to the Regional Director (DOLE Department Order No. 75-06 (Series of 2006)) and shall be subject to deportation after service of his sentence (Ferrolino, 2009).

b) Special Work Permit is given by employers to foreigners that will only work for a brief time in the Philippines usually less than 6 months that can be extended for another 6 months and they are not required to apply for a (AEP) from DOLE ( Triple i Consulting Inc., 2005).

c) 9g Prearranged Employment Visa is given to any foreign national who will be employed in the Philippines and occupying a technical, executive, managerial or a highly confidential position in a company for at least one year, can apply for an employment visa under Sec. 9(g) of the Philippine Immigration Act.

III. Issues/Problems

1) What are the necessary visa and permits these Japanese nationals must secure in order to be able to work in the country? As to the rules of immigration and DOLE these Japanese nationals knowing that they are considered as aliens must be able secure an AEP before they can work. But according to one of my respondents who is ms. Ariza Okumura, that she only secured a working visa which is valid for only two years, before she got to work in our school.

2) Are they given enough compensation and benefits in their jobs? When it comes to compensations and benefits we all know that Philippines really give a very low compensation rate in terms of salary. According to the National Wages and Productivity Commission minimum wage in the National Capital Region ranges from P456.00 to P419.00 depending on the type of job, while in Davao city it ranges from P301.00 to P270.00. Clearly this kind of wages will not be enough to support a family that is why these families that are working here in Davao always keep a tight budget on their money. According to Miss Ariza Okumura, a Japanese Language teacher in Mindanao Kokusai Daigaku “if I live for a long time for example ten (10) years or more?

The salary is okay. But if if have plan of one year or three years? The salary is low.” Mr. Tanino also a Japanese Language Teacher in MKD said “the salary is low”. True enough even these aliens or Japanese nationals to be exact who is working here in the Philippines have also experienced the very low salary here. In another interview I conducted this time it is from Takako Okamoto, also a Japanese language teacher in MKD she said “I think it is enough, for Japanese nationals’ teacher”. From this we can see the different points of view of these Japanese in terms of the compensation given to them. But one thing is for sure, they do not want the money, it’s their love of teaching and imparting what they know to those who are willing to learn.

3) Why of all other country would they choose Philippines? Some would say that Philippines is a good place to relax because of its serene beauty and it is also close to nature because it is rich in natural resources. The country being an archipelago means it is close to beaches which attracts tourist from all over the world to come here. A few would even say they want to go to the Philippines because of Filipinos have been known to the world as hospitable kind of people. But when it comes to employment there have been also very many speculations upon the capacity of the country to cater workers because of the ongoing crisis in its economy and a whole lot more.

But even so after all these negative comments and speculations some still chose to work here. One good example is Ariza Okumura, MKD teacher she said during our interview that it was here choice to work here and when I asked her why this is what she told me “before when I was student we had a school trip and I came here in Davao. Also I really want to teach Japanese in foreign country”. Almost all of the Japanese language teachers I have interviewed said the same thing. That it was in their own will to go to the Philippines.

In a follow up question I had which was “did you originally come here as a teacher?” I was amazed at their answers. Takako Okamoto, a MKD teacher said “I chose Philippines as a place for volunteer work.” Tanino, who is also a MKD teacher, said he first came to the Philippines to work for a company named sharp.

From their answers it was clear that teaching was not their real objective in coming here, but the longer they stayed the more they fell in love with the country and its people. “During the time I met many Filipino Filipina and then they took care of me well and then I don’t like to forget everything they did for me. After one year four months I came back to Japan and decided to help the Filipino resident in the Philippines as Japanese Language teacher.” Said Okamoto sensei.

4) What are the different experiences they have here?

We can finish up all day if we talk about experiences, but these are one of the parts of the lives of the people which make us actually say that we are alive. Through these experiences we learn and from these learning we can adjust in order to make things better.

When it was time to ask them this question I observed that they had a very hard time in picking which experience they wanted to share. One of them said that being with students everyday are counted as one of their memorable experience, one also said that seeing the students learning is their most unforgettable experience. But there is one story that actually touched my heart. It was from Takako Okamoto she told me “actually he’s a last year graduator. He hated any kind of teacher, he hated study Japanese especially.

He was lazy to attend all the class he was lazy to pass shukudai (assignments), and then sometimes he was against to the teachers. But I have been continuing to approach to him. Siguro very Samok sa kanya *how about your shukudai ? *how many times absent you might be dropped! Like that. Whenever I see him I say something. Finally he changed, he changed totally. He had a focus on study in nihongo but it was already 4th year. But I found his changes. Before RP Japan I was telling him, I know you are good at nihongo.

You try to attend speech contest in RP Japan. In his speech he was saying to me thank you, like saying because of me he was changed. But for one week he got dengue and was absent. Nobody expected he could attend the speech. But he came, and said *Sensei I’m Here.” It may not mean as much to you but as I saw her as she was telling me this story you would see the happiness in her eyes. The kind of happiness that meant showed how their job as a teacher can be very rewarding, that even the small thing could make a big difference.


I admit I started late in doing this paper. But in those limited amount of time left, I was still able to learn new things through this. First is the importance of time. Know this is not port of my paper but I was able to learn and appreciate time, and how to use it wisely and productively. Second is the importance of work, as to why people look for jobs. Another is I learned to appreciate the teachers more.

This happened during the times I was able to interview a few of them. At first I was hesitant in conducting interviews because I was afraid of the teachers, but then I said to myself “what’s there to lose?” So when I started the interviews I realized that I should not be afraid of these teachers because their only goal it to teach is to become a better person. That they are doing what they do not to make us suffer but to make us learn, I was able to see that “the students are the only ones who are making themselves suffer”.

I also came to a conclusion that in all we do there’s a good and bad side to it. Isaac Newton’s third law of motion said that “For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction”. In life that is also proven true, with everything we do, even in may it be as a person, as an employee, etc. there will always be an advantage and a disadvantage.

Yes Japanese language is very interesting but at the same time it is also very complicated and hard to learn. Even the Japanese Language teachers themselves said that its hard and it really takes time. That even they as a teacher they also have to adjust to their approach to the students. Which brings us to the conclusion that teaching as a language teacher is not just a profession but also a lifestyle, where in it has its up and downs, the good and the bad, and its own advantages and disadvantages.

Triple i Consulting Inc. (2005). Retrieved february 21, 2013, from anjaligill. (2011, august 19). What Teaching Means to Me and Why it is Important…. Retrieved january 20, 2012, from CASTRO, J. M. (August, 11 2009). Philippines Visas, Permits and Immigration. Retrieved february 6, 2013, from CORTEZ, M. A. (2009). Japan-Philippines Free Trade Agreement: Oppotunities for the movement of workers. RITSUMEIKAN INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS , 126. Ferrolino, T. (2009). Employment of Foreigner

Updated: Aug 12, 2021
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Advantage and Disadvantages of Japanese Nationals Working in the Philippines. (2017, Feb 27). Retrieved from

Advantage and Disadvantages of Japanese Nationals Working in the Philippines essay
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