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Hi everybody. I am considering spending 6-12 months in Japan in 2011 to improve my Japanese language skills.

Two questions...

My company has this great benefit whereby, we can go on a 'sabbatical' for up to one year, and they will continue to pay 40% of our salary. The only stipultation is that the sabbatical must either be career-related (which would not apply in my case, as my job does not include my needing to work with the Japanese or speak Japanese) OR the sabbatical must be for the purposes of doing volunteer work.

I DID do a search on the internet, but I'm getting the impression that the notion of volunteering in Japan may not be as common as it is say in the U.S. So.... ARE any of you aware of places in Tokyo that may have a need for volunteer workers for a 6-12 month term?

Secondly, if I am to continue my current health insurance in Japan, it will cost me about $500 per month which is alot of money for me. If I take my chances and go to Japan without health insurance, will I even be allowed into the country for an extended period of time? Or will they ask for proof that I'm insured? If not, and I have a catastrophic illness or injury while there, do I understand that in Japan they will never turn you away? I guess I'd still have to pay whatever the hospital charge ends up being? How do hospital stays there compare to the US? I'd imagine it's not as costly?

Thanks everybody!
 

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If you can get a visa to stay in Japan for up to a year I think there is a possibility that you could join the Japanese Health Insurance.

Kokumin Kenko Hoken.

Ask at a Japanese consulate near you.
 

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As masu has already alluded to, your biggest concern is going to be getting a long-stay visa for Japan.

The notion of "volunteer work" is not really the same anywhere in the world as it is in the US. And it's kind of uncertain at best whether you could qualify for a visa based on doing volunteer work. But if it's possible, it would be the volunteer agency you're working for that would sponsor your visa application.

The type of visa you get is what would determine the requirement for health insurance - whether your current insurance would be adequate, or if you'd be eligible for the Japanese national plan while resident in Japan.

Your best bet is to check the website for the Japanese consulate in NYC to see what the general requirements are for a visa. If there are organizations recruiting volunteers to work in Japan, they may have some leads on this for you.
Cheers,
Bev
 

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Discussion Starter #4
thanks

thanks for input guys!




As masu has already alluded to, your biggest concern is going to be getting a long-stay visa for Japan.

The notion of "volunteer work" is not really the same anywhere in the world as it is in the US. And it's kind of uncertain at best whether you could qualify for a visa based on doing volunteer work. But if it's possible, it would be the volunteer agency you're working for that would sponsor your visa application.

The type of visa you get is what would determine the requirement for health insurance - whether your current insurance would be adequate, or if you'd be eligible for the Japanese national plan while resident in Japan.

Your best bet is to check the website for the Japanese consulate in NYC to see what the general requirements are for a visa. If there are organizations recruiting volunteers to work in Japan, they may have some leads on this for you.
Cheers,
Bev
 
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