I was browsing the "Entering Japan" webpage, and there is a very interesting sentence under the "Longer Stays for the Wealthy" heading (emphasized below):

If you are a citizen of one of the over 50 countries with which Japan has a "general visa exemption arrangement" and have savings of over 30 million yen, you and your spouse are eligible to stay in Japan for up to one year for the purpose of sightseeing or recreation. You may not engage in paid activities. A visa has to be obtained before traveling to Japan.

Japan has a very different culture and the Japanese language has difference constructions and interpretations than English. Does anyone know its meaning?

  • Isn't it going to an amusement park a paid activity?
  • Isn't it buying a train ticket a paid activity?
  • Isn't it going to a restaurant a paid activity?

If rich people are not allowed to spend their money, why has the Japanese government established this category of visa?

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    Not that this page is not an official government website and may not be a reliable source for legal information. Commented Sep 19, 2016 at 22:14
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    I think by paid activity they mean to say not indulge in any kind of money-making activity.
    – Rolen Koh
    Commented Sep 20, 2016 at 8:56
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    Going to amusement park, buying a train ticket and going to a restaurant are spending activities; running an amusement park, selling train tickets and opening a restaurant are paid activities
    – user13267
    Commented Sep 20, 2016 at 12:46
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    this question should go to ell.stackexchange.com
    – user13267
    Commented Sep 20, 2016 at 12:47
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    I've had quite a few large (in the sense of muscles) friends visit Japan - they all claim to have been offered a temporary gig as a bouncer. All of my friends who visit Japan are approached for English tutoring. You may not be interested in or qualified for those positions (I'm sure there are others as well), but government regulations don't care about you, they care about everybody from any of the 50+ countries that may visit.
    – Jeutnarg
    Commented Sep 20, 2016 at 18:12

2 Answers 2


Perhaps more easily understood as colloquial English, and as @pnuts notes, written another way and with the same meaning: you may not engage in activities for which you are/will be paid.

  • 12
    More specifically, this generally means you may not engage in activities for which you are paid by someone in that country. If your employer is paying you to visit a customer in Japan, that will probably be OK; if the customer is paying for your time directly or indirectly, that is not OK. (I had to deal with this distinction while on a business trip to another country.)
    – keshlam
    Commented Sep 20, 2016 at 4:19
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    "If your employer is paying you to visit a customer in Japan" that's actually not correct, regarding the specific visa in question. (of course you're correct regarding the typical "business visa" (indeed, of most countries), as you say)
    – Fattie
    Commented Sep 20, 2016 at 4:35
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    @keshlam Are you sure about that? Many countries aren't happy with that, as it would let people work in their country without permission, just by using a foreign intermediary.
    – CMaster
    Commented Sep 20, 2016 at 8:32
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    "stay in Japan for up to one year for the purpose of sightseeing or recreation" -- if your employer is paying you to visit a customer in Japan then do not claim that you are visiting for the purpose of sightseeing or recreation. That would be what is technically known in customs and immigrations parlance as a "stinking lie". It looks as though you can enter for up to 90 days (not a whole year) as a business traveller, and in that case you either need to decipher the phase "paid activities", or look up the real rules. Commented Sep 20, 2016 at 12:26
  • @keshlam While the rules are usually indeed different for whether you're working for someone in the destination country or working remotely for someone from your home country or a third country, tourist visas typically permit neither. Business visas typically permit relatively short business-related trips (e.g. for meetings, trade shows, conferences, etc.,) but they typically don't permit living in that country while working remotely for a business in another country. You generally need an actual permanent or temporary resident work visa of some sort for that.
    – reirab
    Commented Sep 20, 2016 at 14:44

I think you are talking about the "Specified visa: Designated activities (Long Stay for sightseeing and recreation)".

As you can tell by the Ministry Of Foreign Affairs website this is basically an extended tourist visa and is meant for tourism and sightseeing. What you are allowed to do is similar to a tourist visa though. Paying for recreational acitivites is however a basic for of a vacation or sightseeing. However, being payed to do something is not really covered under the guise of sightseeing and recreation

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