I’ll start by categorizing foreigners into 3 groups: a person without a college degree and speaks no japanese, a person with a college degree but speaks no japanese, a person with a college degree and good enough japanese fluency to pass JLPT N2.
Life of minimum wage and english teaching
If you fall into the first category, you neither have a university degree and speak no japanese then my suggestion to you is to stay the f-ck out of Japan. You won’t be able to get a visa unless you go the spouse or student route. But even so, I wouldn’t recommend living in Japan if you have no qualifications. You’re basically destined to work minimum wage jobs or english teaching until you die or by some miracle you’re able to catch a break. I know I sound pessimistic but this topic has been beaten to death and people still ask this silly question “I have nothing offer, what kind of job can I do?” well… Even japanese people who have a massive advantage over you in the job market can struggle sometimes finding a good job even with degrees. As a foreigner you’re double screwed if you show up with no degree and expecting a decent life here reality is going to hit you hard.
The second category which is probably the most common one, you’re about to finish your degree or you’ve already finished your degree and you’re thinking about life in Japan and wondering what kind of job you can do. I’ll be blunt here, with no japanese skills your options are still limited, I would say 90% of this group still end up in the english teaching industry. Lately the IT sector in Japan have made it easier for foreigners to break in to, you now see foreigners with lacking japanese skills ablet o find jobs in IT. Another option which is probably your best bet is to actually work for a firm in your own country and hope to get transferred to Japan, usually no japanese is required and usually western branches(assuming you’re from a western country) in Japan will still have some western semblance in their work culture so you won’t get shell shocked and move back ASAP.
The third category… degree and fluent japanese. Now we’re talking, now you actually have decent career options and a long term life in Japan will work out. It’s still going to be hard to get a job outside of english teaching and IT but atleast you have a shot. There are people working outside those fields and what they have in common is that they all speak fluent japanese.
Here’s the dilemma, if you’re the sort of person that can have a great career in Japan you would be better off not investing in a long term life in Japan but rather stay in the west or aim for the west(if any non-westerners are reading this). The career options you have in Silicon valley(tech), London, New York(finance) all crushes Japan in terms of work quality and salary. The only reason why you would pick Tokyo(or Japan but preferrably Tokyo since your best bet is to work in Tokyo)is that you actually want to live in Japan above anything else. That’s the catch with japan either you have the foreigners with limited skillset that end up in English teaching or you have the ambitious foreigners who reject Japan as a country to do career in. I’m generalizing a lot here ofcourse, English teaching is fine if you like teaching obviously and not everyone is chasing six or seven figure incomes.