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Home-seeking headache


“If Japan is serious about bringing in more foreigners, she warns, “the real estate industry has to change a lot. . . . Especially in 30, 40, 50 years, I’m not sure if Japan will stay one of the best Asian countries economically.” She adds that the country will have to make “a lot more effort” if it wants to attract highly skilled workers, and provide social services in English or other languages who don’t speak Japanese.” J. Uechi
Here is an interesting post from the Japan Times: Home-seeking headache; Americans’ burden. A new low in Tokyo!

I appeared in the article by Jenny Uechi headlined “Prejudice among obstacles facing non-Japanese tenants,” (Zeit Gist, Nov. 18). I would like to report a recent event that may interest you.

In my quest for a permanent residence, I found a nice, large 1R apartment in Azabu Juban, Tokyo. I really liked the place and filled out a moshikomisho, which reserved it for me while routine screening was made before signing the contract. Since my company was to be guarantor, we all thought there wouldn’t be a problem.However, 24 hours later, I got a call from the agent saying that the elderly couple who owned the building did not want a foreigner living there, and refused my application on the spot. The agent screamed at them to please allow at least a live interview with me and my girlfriend (a Japanese businesswoman). Surely if they met me, a permanent resident of Japan fluent in the language and culture, they would allow me in. But they were adamant, and the real estate agent lost a client.  Then, while showing me other places, his staffer slipped up and said, “This place allows pets, so they should allow foreigners.” I politely left their office and went to a different agent in the same area who found a nice place for me owned by a landlord with a more open mind.


In my experience, I’ve been told “no foreigners” before, but never have I set up an appointment, gone to the apartment with three other men, and submitted an application before being denied purely because I’m a white guy. This is a first!


  1. Harris Harris

    As an American trying to relocate to Japan, this sounds alot like the U.S. circa 1960. Maybe I should stay in the U.S.?

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