Digital Nomads to Be Granted Resident Status

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
The Prime Minister’s Office in Tokyo

TOKYO (Jiji Press) — The government said Friday that it will grant the so-called designated activities resident status to digital nomads so they can stay and work in Japan for up to six months.

The measure is aimed at attracting excellent human resources from abroad and expanding consumer spending in areas accommodating digital nomads.

The government hopes to begin the measure after revising related rules and notices within fiscal 2023 ending on March 31.

Digital nomads refer to professionals who work remotely in the information technology, marketing, consulting and other fields on a global scale. They are often high-income earners.

An estimated number of such workers across the world is over 35 million. According to a foreign survey, the annual spending by digital nomads is put at $787 billion.

Digital nomads eligible for the designated activities residency are likely to include recipients of salaries from foreign companies.

The status will be granted to those who have the nationality of a country or a region with visa exemption arrangements and a tax treaty with Japan, earn at least ¥10 million annually, have private health insurance coverage and meet some other conditions.

According to the Immigration Services Agency, 49 economies, including the United States, Britain, Australia, Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan, meet the visa exemption and tax treaty conditions.

Digital nomads with the status will be allowed to bring their spouses and children to Japan.

Japan has no resident status specific to digital nomads, who are currently allowed to stay for up to 90 days with the status of temporary stay.

The measure to give such workers the designated activities residency will be launched in accordance with the government’s revised grand design and action plan for Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s “new capitalism” initiative.

The government adopted the revised version in June 2023, which called for introducing a resident status for digital nomads within fiscal 2023 at the request of the business community.

The measure will facilitate “the creation of innovation” in Japan, Justice Minister Ryuji Koizumi told a news conference Friday.