I have since heard from quite a number of people that it's common practice for IT workers to be brought into the country on visitor visas. It's been speculated that I happened to run into a sweep of some kind: a moment of very rigid application of the law (hence the people being detained during routine connections between flights). I can't really comment on that, but I hope that anyone sent to work in Japan will regard my cautionary tale. Here are the facts about applying for a visa to enter Japan:
- You are solely responsible for your visa application, you can not rely on an employer to do it for you. In fact, your visa application must be conducted outside of Japan.
- You will need considerable documentation for a working visa in Japan; the requirements are non-trivial (e.g. for an Engineer's visa at the time I needed both a University degree and ten year's experience) and I have seen qualified people ejected from the country because they couldn't come up with the laundry list of qualifications.
- It will take about two months to secure your visa.
(In which I leave the final word to someone else.)
"...If you don't understand it, it must be art!"
--Chris Wessling, photoSIG.com