Young people advised to prepare before going to Japan to work hinh anh 1Khai, a Vietnamese welder at a mechanical engineering in Japan. (Photo: Vietnamplus)

Hanoi (VNA) – Japan was the biggest recipient of Vietnamese guest workers in 2018, replacing Taiwan (China) in the top spot. Attractive salaries have tempted more and more Vietnamese workers to Japan, but not everyone is able to anticipate the challenges of working abroad.

Culture shock

Many young people think of Japan as a dreamland where they can earn thousands of USD or dozens of million VND per month, much higher than the average wage back home.
However, some tend to overlook the challenges migrant workers may face overseas, such as the culture shock or unfamiliar working styles. Japanese people are renowned worldwide for being very punctual and productive at work, which has taken many Vietnamese newcomers by surprise.

Khai, who works for a mechanical engineering company in Niigata, said though he had worked as a welder for two years in Vietnam, he could not help feeling like a fish out of water doing the same job in Japan.

“I have been in Japan for two months,” said the 21-year-old man from Hung Yen. “I learned Japanese in the first month and started to work in the second.”

“During my first weeks, I was shocked
to see how the work is done here. The working day is still 8 hours long, but I have to work constantly with a high intensity until I get a break,” Khai said. It is very different to Vietnam, he added.

Young people advised to prepare before going to Japan to work hinh anh 2Vietnamese workers in Japan. (Photo: Vietnamplus)

Tuan, another worker from Thanh Hoa who works for a construction firm in Saimata, also
had to struggle at first.

“My job is to put up scaffolding at construction sites. Sometimes I have to dangle off the edge of a 70-storey building. I am not afraid of heights and I’m always fully equipped, but I’m still nervous,” he said. “Despite that, I have to keep up with the work schedule as everyone here is very fast. Working at a height does not mean you are allowed to work any slower.”

Although jobs may vary, the style is the same – fast, punctual and productive. Trang, from Hung Yen, said her job at an instant food packaging company is quite easy and not as
intensive as others, but the discipline is still very strict.

Get ready with skills

Many young workers like Trang, Khai and Tuan
do not research what they are going to do in Japan, so they are shocked when their jobs turn out to be hard labour. “I have gone too far to turn back,” Tuan said.

Many prefer jobs with low
skill requirements, but most of those jobs are labour-intensive. Some even choose jobs because they sound interesting, without learning what they really entail. They still lack the necessary skills to work abroad.

Demand for workers in mechanical engineering, electronics, food processing and construction industries is relatively high in Japan, said Tran Thi Van Ha from the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs’ Department of Overseas Labour. Those who work for over a year in Japan can earn around 30 million – 40 million VND (1,289 USD – 1,718 USD) per month, she added.

Japan’s standard working
day is 8 hours, with no more than 40 hours a week. When a person works longer than the standard time, they receive overtime pay.

“Japanese companies take discipline very seriously when they recruit someone,” Ha said. “Foreign employees
are highly appreciated and receive extra benefits if they are hardworking, have a good attitude and obey the rules at work,” she emphasised.

Young people advised to prepare before going to Japan to work hinh anh 3Vietnamese workers get ready to depart for Japan. (Photo: VNA)

Vietnamese labourers have to attend pre-departure vocational training and language courses
, which take about 6 – 8 months. They are also required to learn about the culture and working rules in Japan as well as specific requirements for each occupation.

Many firms have even organised “standing courses” to prepare workers for their future jobs in Japan in terms of discipline and health.

Ha advised young workers to carefully prepare with essential knowledge about Japan’s common labour standards and requirements of the jobs they apply
for. They must also be ready to take on challenges in their new jobs.

Japan is a very demanding market but it has competitive working environment and offers high salaries. People who expect high incomes and want to improve their competence in Japan must sharpen their necessary skills to satisfy the requirements of employers,” Ha said.

It is not too difficult, as long as you take all the pre-departure courses seriously and study hard to adapt to the new job and the living and working environment in Japan, she noted./.