Procedure to obtain Japanese Residency for a retired U.S. Citizen

Dear friends:   I am retired U.S. citizen who worked for the Department of Defense, as a civilian employee, for 38+ in the housing management field.   My last job was as Housing Director for Sasebo Naval Base for 10 years.  And later worked as manager/consultant for a private Japanese company.  I owned a restaurant, within my home, where I provided gourmet food services on weekends on an appointment basis.  My hobby is gastronomy and the culinary arts.  I cook my own food daily and maintain a friendship through a periodical invitation of ex-colleagues and friends to join me to dine.  I was born in the Canal Zone, Panama.   Currently, all first consanguinity family members reside in the U.S. in various states.   I am the only one who returned to Panama.   All my brothers and sister, remain in the U.S. after college.  Texas is our home of records.
After retirement from the Department of Defense, in addition to work as a consultant, I visited Japan continuously for an additional ten years, for a total of 20 years.
I miss the people, the culture, and the food.   I would like to spend the rest of my life on this earth in Japan.  I will be 71, in May, however, my doctors, tell me I have a youthful spine, which does not permit me to age.  I enjoy very good health, and I say with full modesty, I look a lot younger than my age.

Oh, I forgot to mention I  speak Spanish fluently and limited Japanese.  I am interested in employment in the restaurant, hotel and property management field.

Hi there,

I'm Alex from Nagoya.  I'm from Belgium so I cannot give you so much information about getting a residency for US.  All I know there are some possibilities if you look around.  but in my case, and I'm sure in your case too, it is impossible to stay in Japan with a resident card.  The only way to do is when you have a spouse (like me) who lives here, relatives or if you are lucky, an employer who is willing to give you a visum for 1 year. 

you cannot do a lot with your languages;  I speak English, French, German and Dutch, but nothing is good enough.  The only thing that matters is Japanese.  Since you are an US citizen, you can be teacher.  since you are a cook, you can go cooking in one or other restaurant (read: boil noodles). 

Here in Nagoya there is a NIC (Nagoya International Center).  there are some people speaking English, and helping you out. I came here because of my wife, and she helped me alot, but if you come here, please consider everything very well, it will not be easy.


Do you know if purchasing a home or apartment hold any sway in trying to retire in Japan?

First of all, getting a house or apartment here is difficult for foreigners.  You can buy a house of course, but to do that, I think you have to be a permanent resident.  you can rent a house but most renting companies prefer to rent a house to japanese people, and not to foreigners, afraid for complains from other people around you because you "don't know" the rules of living. 

if you are married with a japanese person, it is easier, since you can put the renting on the name of your partner.

Remember, for a small apartment far outside the city, you easily pay 60000 Yen.  Houses go up to 25000000 yen for a very small old house.  these cheap places do not come with airconditioning or other comforts.  I had to install it myself, even an oven and heater.