Ranking of companies that employ most foreigners in Japan

Ranking of companies that employ most foreigners in Japan


Currently, labor shortages are becoming more serious in Japan due to the declining birthrate and aging population problem (少子高齢化問題). To solve this, the government has committed to encouraging the hiring of foreign workers, and more and more companies continue to look for global talents.

According to the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare, the number of foreign workers recorded as of January 2020 rounds up to 1,658,804 workers; an increase of 13.6% compared to the previous year. In addition, it was recorded that a number of 242,608 companies were hiring these foreign workers; showing an increase of 12.1% since the previous year.

However,  aren't you curious about the characteristics of those companies that hire many foreigners?
As you can see, there are two main characteristics, which will be described in further detail down below.

・Industries wherein Japanese language ability is not a necessity

Not all foreign workers have had the time or resources to study and practice their Japanese skills, so it's unavoidable to miss out on talented people when some of them can’t convey those skills well to their interviewers in Japanese. However, if you're a foreigner in Japan who may have the same problem with communication, it doesn't mean your options are down to zero.

In order for such individuals to play an active role in Japan, there are some industries that have created systems that allow foreigners to demonstrate their ability regardless of their language ability. Based on rankings provided by Toyokeizai, a Japanese news company, manufacturing industries such as factories occupy the top. By developing an in-house English system, foreigners have been able to apply to such companies without having their Japanese proficiency tested. In this case, many foreign workers whose native language is English are hired, or they should be able to speak English in addition to their native language. In addition, there have been companies that encourage やさしいにほんご systems, wherein Japanese staff learn to speak 'easier' Japanese when interacting with foreign workers.

・Companies that have gone / are going global

While travel overseas has been limited temporarily due to the COVID-19 pandemic, companies remain keen on increasing their competitiveness overseas and expanding internationally. As such, other companies that are actively engaged in hiring foreigners are those with overseas branches, especially those that focus in overseas production - safe to say the least, in order to expand their business globally, the power of not only Japanese workers but also foreign workers, is indispensable.

[Top 10] Ranking of companies with a high percentage of foreigners


List of top 50 companies that hire foreign workers (Toyokeizai, 2018)

【1】Foster Electric Company


The first place is Foster Electric, which handles the production and sale of loudspeakers, audio equipment and electrical equipment. It has more than 10 branches overseas, including some in Vietnam, Thailand, Singapore, Europe and Mexico, and its headquarters can be found in Akishima, Tokyo. The total number of foreign employees is 48,670 as of recordings in 2018 by Toyokeizai, and the foreign employee ratio is 98.9%. It is a 100% overseas production company, with foreign employees active mainly in the manufacturing department - in addition, it has a foreign manager ration of 3%. 

To make things a bit easier, Foster does have an english website (linked above, underneath the Foster logo), but hiring information is located in the Japanese version of that website, so check it out if you're interested!

【2】UMC Electronics Co. Ltd


The second place is UMC Electronics, which is a company that handles everything from procurement and manufacturing of parts for automobiles and electronic devices. The electronic equipment contract department boasts the largest contract ratio in Japan and also has factories in China, Thailand and Mexico. The total number of foreign employees is 10,697, and the foreign employee ratio is 98.5%. The number of foreign managers 0 as of 2018, but has a policy of increasing in the future.

UMC also offers an English version of it's website, and the 'recruit' information may be found underneath the pull-down tab, "Company Introduction" as the very last link. However, the information you will find there will most likely be written in Japanese.

【3】Mabuchi Motor Co. Ltd


The third place is Mabuchi Motor, which manufactures motors for automobile electrical equipment, home appliances and tools. It boasts the world''s No. 1 brand power in small DC motors. Starting in China in 1964, they have expanded their business to Asia and now it is 100% overseas production. The total number of foreign employees is 22,913, and the foreign employee ratio is 96.4%. Foreigners work mainly in overseas manufacturing departments, and all of managers are currently Japanese.

【4】MinebeaMitsumi Inc.


The fourth place is MinebeaMitsumi, which produces bearing motors. 60% of the total production is in Thailand, and there are branches in other parts of the world such as China, the United States and the United Kingdom. The number of foreign employees is 72,310, and the ratio of foreign employees is 91.6%. MinebeaMitsumi''s foreign recruitment feature is that there are as many as nine foreign managers. As of 2016, the ratio is 0.5%, but they have implemented a company policy aiming at bringing foreign managers to 10%.

【5】Relia Inc.


Relia, Inc. is a company that dispatches human resources mainly in financial and IT call centers. Among the service industries that employ fewer foreigners, Reila, Inc. stands out as its foreigner recruitment ratio is the largest. They have also expanded into Asia, and have 40 bases in Japan and overseas. In addition, there are no foreign managers at the moment, but the total number of foreign employees is 8,758, and the ratio of foreigners within the company is 87.4%.

【6】Musashi Seimitsu Industry Co., Ltd.


Musashi Seimitsu Kogyo Co., Ltd. is an automobile parts manufacturer affiliated with Honda Motor Co., Ltd. They actively employ foreigners mainly in the overseas transportation sector. The total number of foreign employees is 10,807 as of 2018, and the foreign employee ratio is 86.5%. However, the number of foreign managers is 0.7%.

【7】TS TECH Co.,Ltd.


TS Tech, similarly to Musashi Seimitsu, is another company affiliated with Honda Motor Co., Ltd, and specializes in the manufacturing of automobile seats. It has 14 bases in Japan and overseas (mainly located in Asia and North America). The total number of foreign employees is 14,044, and the ratio of foreign employees is 86.0%. There are no foreign managers as of 2018.

【8】Fujikura Ltd.


8th place is Fujikura, which manufactures communication cables, electric wires, and wire harnesses. They have 22 bases in Thailand, China, the United States and other countries. The total number of foreign employees is 48,253, and the foreign employee ratio is 84.7%. The ratio of foreign managers is 0.6%.

【9】Sumitomo Electric Industries, Ltd.


Sumitomo Electric Industries is Japan''s largest non-ferrous metal manufacturer headquartered in Osaka. It is a large company with branch offices in 40 countries around the world and approximately 240,000 employees. For this reason, the ratio of foreigners is 84.2%, but the total number of foreign employees is 209,094. Keep in mind however, that the ratio of foreign managers is 0.1%.

【10】Yamaki Co., Ltd.


Yamaki, the  company in 10th place, manufactures and sells men's dress shirts and casual shirts. There are manufacturing factories in China and Thailand, and the total number of foreign employees is 1,041, with the ratio of foreigners at 83.9%.

All in all, with the exception of Musashi Seimitsu Industry Co., Ltd., all companies ranked 1st to 10th have overseas branches. In most cases, the foreigners hired often work in those overseas branches rather than inside of Japan. 

Most common idustries that hire foreign workers

As you can see in the donut chart above, out of the top 50 companies listed for hiring the most foreign workers, the most common industries turned out to be: in first place with 21.2%, manufacturing companies of electronic goods; in second place, manufacturers of transportation equipment covering for 19.2%, and in third place, the machinery industry at 17.3%. 


So, there you have it - the characteristics and rankings of companies that employ the most number of foreigners. Most of the top companies are manufacturing/sales departments with factories overseas, and most of the foreigners working at Japanese companies tend to be based in overseas branches. We hope that this article aided in giving you a brief overview of the popular industries for foreign workers! And, for more information regarding Japanese companies and your career in Japan, check out the rest of the articles on Mixess!