1. Working opportunities for foreigners are restricted to certain areas like technical specialist roles, finance, academic, programming and English instruction. Japanese fluency and cultural sensitivity are otherwise major stumbling blocks.
2. Liveability. Japan offers a very desirable living environment with modern services, conveniences and cultural engage. This is the benefit of a big city and it appeals to Asian and western skilled immigrants alike. The issue is arguably the entrenchment of Japanese "polite culture". You might wonder: "Who would object to politeness?" Any outsider who arises at the conclusion that politeness equates to engaging in 'cultural rhetoric', and otherwise appealing for 'outsider consideration' by diminishing your own ego whilst venerating Japanese culture. Whilst you can spurn Japanese values, the exposure to 'difference' has its own rewards, and one can celebrate how the Japanese live. The Japanese are in effect living how we all will be living 30 years from now. I frankly wish everyone was further progressed. This says nothing of Japanese values but simply their "bureaucratic organisation".
4. Safety: Japan remains a very safe place to live and hold property.
5. Investment: The Japanese economy is often considered a "basket case". The reality however is that it is priced accordingly. Property prices outside of city centres has been kept low by falling real wages and housing oversupply. Japanese don't so much 'sell houses' as buy anew: whether next door or in the city. If there is any vulnerability it is in the prospect of higher taxes as taxes on land, particularly low - end property, are relatively modest. Low end property owners can pay as little as $150-250 a year in rates, depending on the age and size of their house and land, as well as its location. The other benefit of property is that it's a real 'hard asset', and since not overpriced, Japanese property is not vulnerable to currency debasement concerns. You might however want to consider vulnerability to major earthquakes when buying. Here again, Japan benefits from an oversupply of property and modern design and engineering standards. This has become a national imperative.
6. Expat friendly. Being a big country you might have expected Japan to be "unliveable", but fortunately many Japanese speak some English, most things are automated (even ordering food), and there is a great deal of English signage and many 'work-arounds'. You can find great places to drink and eat when you can meet with people all around the world.
7. Cost of living and business: The requirements for a business visa are quite onerous, and whilst income taxes are fairly high, operating costs are low. The same for the cost of living. The sustainability of the old fashioned corner store is a testament to the low cost of business in Japan. The obstacle is not financial, but rather cultural. This is why most foreigners target foreigners for business.
8. Technology. Japan has lost its technological lead however it remains a substantive player and is strong on technological adoption, making it a great place to buy toys like this display model at the Nissan Show Room in Ginza, central Tokyo.