About life and going on to higher education in Japan
Ｑ.How much is a room for rent?
A room (20～30㎡) in Iruma city, which includes a bath, toilet, and kitchen, is usually 40,000 - 60,000 yen a month. In many cases, "shikikin", "reikin", and a fire insurance fee must be paid at the time when one signs the contract, so it is wise to prepare 4-months (or more) rent in advance.
Ｑ.What do "shikikin" and "reikin" mean?
Shikikin is a security deposit and will be used to cover any expenses needed for repair. The balance of shikikin may be refunded when the contract is over. Reikin is a gratuity fee, not refundable.
Ｑ.When I rent a room, do I need a guarantor?
Yes, you do. If you do not have a relative in Japan, please use a guarantee company. In addition, there are rooms which foreigners cannot rent, so please confirm when looking for a room.
Ｑ.Does ASAHI have student dormitories?
Yes. To apply, please submit a "Dormitory Application Form" and "Dormitory Pledge" before entering the school. We encourage students who study in ASAHI to live together in the dormitory. Students can help each other in studying as well as in daily life.
Ｑ.How much is a university student's monthly living expenses?
It is said that Japanese university students spend 120,000 yen a month on average, although they usually cook their own food to save money. (Food: 25,000 yen, Room: 55,000 yen, Cost of utilities: 10,000 yen, Communication expense: 10,000 yen, Leisure cost: 10,000 yen, Miscellaneous expenses: 10,000 yen)
Ｑ.How much is the hourly wage for part-time jobs?
It is around 1,000 yen. International students are limited to 28 hours of work per week by Japanese law, so it is difficult for international students to live on a part-time job alone. If you violate the law, you will be forcibly repatriated. Unlike in the past, the Japanese government can find out the working hours of foreign students. DO NOT believe any bad advice you may hear. Please come to Japan with sufficient savings.
Ｑ.What kind of assistance is there for taking university entrance exams?
For exams, having good Japanese language skills is very important. In class, we have mock-tests of the Japanese Language Proficiency Test (JLPT) and the Examination for Japanese University Admission for International Students (EJU) to help students practice for future exams. In addition, we provide helpful information about universities and hold briefing sessions about the process of admission. We provide guidance on writing application forms, creating research plans, writing essays, and taking interviews. Moreover, we organize a personal interview every 3 months to advise each student.
Ｑ.Is there a good school with cheap tuition that is easy to enroll in?
A school that is cheap and easy to enroll in is a school with few classes and poor content. It is a waste of time and money. You may return home without gaining any knowledge.
There are about 800 universities in Japan and there are many good universities outside Tokyo. Instead of looking for a university with cheap tuition and fees, please find a university where you can learn what you really want to learn.
Ｑ.What is required to enter a top-rank university?
It is necessary to have JLPT N1 and score over 350 points in the Japanese exam of the Examination for Japanese University Admission for International Students (EJU). In addition, you will also need to remember at least 2,000 Kanji, and practice by trying to think and speak in Japanese all the time. Many famous universities have examinations other than Japanese such as English, general subjects, and mathematics. Please check the examination subject on the website of each university.
Ｑ.I don't care what research I do at what graduate school. Will I be able to get into a graduate school?
No, you won't. Japanese graduate schools are a place where students must study and research on their own. So, if you are not conscious of what you want to study, you will not pass the interview exam. Moreover, you cannot study in a completely different field from what you studied in university.
Ｑ.How much is the university or graduate school fee?
If it is a public school, it is about 820,000 yen (tuition fee 1 year + enrollment fee). Private schools are between 1.2 to 1.5 million yen. Since you need to submit a bank statement of credit before taking the entrance exam, please come to Japan with sufficient financial means.
Ｑ.What is JLPT?
The Japanese Language Proficiency Test (JLPT) is a test for non-native speakers of Japanese sponsored by the Japan Foundation and Japan Educational Exchanges and Services. The test consists of five levels: N1, N2, N3, N4, and N5, with N1 being the highest level. N3: The ability to speak Japanese conversationally. N2: The ability to speak fluent Japanese. N1: The ability to understand Japanese written in a formal or complex manner.
Ｑ.Do I need to pass JLPT if I want to go to graduate school?
Graduate schools require N1 and university require N2 or higher. However, in the university, since you have the same classes as Japanese students, N2 level students will have difficulty after entering. There are also universities which support tuition fees for students who have JLPT N1. To emphasize, in Japan, N1 is mandatory if you want to have good job opportunities in the future. It should be everyone's goal to pass N1.
Ｑ.What is EJU?
The Examination for Japanese University Admission for International Students (EJU) is a test sponsored by Japan Student Services Organization (JASSO). This test is used to evaluate whether international students who wish to study at the undergraduate level at universities or other such higher educational institutions in Japan possess the Japanese language skills and the basic academic abilities (general subjects, mathematics, and science) needed to study at those institutions. Basically, students who wish to study at universities must take this test.
Ｑ.If I want to enter a graduate school, do I have to pass this?
It is not necessary for many graduate schools. Only a few schools (e.g. Saitama University) require this test. Please decide which school you want to apply as soon as possible and look up their admission requirements.
National Health Insurance
Ｑ.Do I have to join?
Yes. The National Health Insurance coverage is a right and an obligation for international students. With the insurance, you need only pay 30% of the total bill when you go to the hospital. Insurance fees vary depending on income and region. For international students, it's about 1,200 to 1,400 yen per month.
Nenkin (年金; Japanese National Pension)
Ｑ.Do I have to join?
Yes. Those over the age of 20 are obligated to join even if they are international students. It is about 16,340 yen per month (in 2018). If you pay for more than 10 years, when you get older, you will get a monthly pension from Japan. In addition, even if you suffer a disability from an accident or pass away, you or your bereaved family will be paid monthly.
Ｑ.What can I do if I cannot pay?
There is a system which allows students to apply for extension of national pension premiums, which is called "Special Payment System for Students"(学生納付特例; Gakusei Noufu Tokurei). You need to go to Kawagoe City Hall to apply for it.
Ｑ.What if I am going to return to my country within 10 years?
You may claim Lump-sum Withdrawal Payments when you go back to your home country. When you apply for the Payments, all your coverage periods in the past shall be used as the base to calculate your Payments amount. Once the Payments are entitled to you, these periods will no longer be valid periods in the future. If you plan to work in Japan in the future, it is recommended that you do not withdraw, and you can also pay the pension while living overseas. For more details, see the website of Japan Pension Service.
日本年金機構(Japan Pension Service): http://www.nenkin.go.jp/international
※ This site has been translated from Japanese. If there are any discrepancies in the translated languages, the original Japanese version will be prioritized.