Japanese Tax Expats in Singapore

Singapore fireworks scenery

The island-city state of Singapore is a global business hub, playing host to many multinational firms and tax organisations. The island’s population is 5.4 million, with 1.4 million being international expats – giving the place a strong multicultural feel.  Tax and transfer pricing expats are attracted to Singapore for a variety of reasons; the exotic climate, friendly locals, low crime rate and high standard of living, to name a few. Perhaps the main reason is the progressive tax rate from 0-22%, which boosts employee net earnings.

The city is always looking to absorb the best international talent, particularly in its booming financial sector. Numerous opportunities are available to the ambitious tax and accountancy expats who are willing to relocate. Singapore specifically needs Japanese speaking tax experts with experience of transfer pricing.

Close Diplomatic and Cultural Ties

The Japanese Association, Singapore (JAS) was established in 1915 and re-established in 1975 to promote exchange and interactions between Japanese and Singaporeans. In 2016, the two countries celebrated 50 years since the resumption of diplomatic relations, dubbed “SJ50”. A variety of events and cultural programmes were held to commemorate the occasion. The most significant of which was the historic visit by the Emperor and Empress of Japan. As a sign of the increasingly solid bilateral economic ties, former Japanese PM Shinzo Abe and Singapore PM Lee Hsien Loong signed the protocol amending the agreement between the two for a New-Age Economic Partnership.

Since the restoration of relations, many Japanese firms have set up in Singapore to take advantage of the Island’s favourable tax rates. The tax and transfer pricing expat community experienced significant growth during the 1970s, as Japanese businesses shifted manufacturing activities out of Japan into Southeast Asia.

Large expat community

The Japanese international expat community is relatively large in Singapore, estimated at around 40,000. During the 1980s, most Japanese came to Singapore with families – the father employed as a manager or engineer, while mothers largely stayed at home.


The community is served by numerous Japanese schools, including a 400-student kindergarten, a 1,900-student primary school, a 700-student junior high school, and a 500-student senior high school, as well as twelve juku (cram schools) to prepare them for university entrance exams. The schools are situated near Japanese neighbourhoods, and all the student body and staff are Japanese nationals. Only a small minority of Japanese families send their children to non-Japanese international schools.

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Golf is a popular pass-time for the Japanese in Singapore, as with many Japanese tax and corporate accountancy expat communities. The community applied political pressure to promote upgrades of existing golf courses and the construction of new ones. Japanese membership in golf associations grew so fast that many established quotas on the number of foreign members with the express purpose of preventing them being overwhelmed with Japanese expatriates and tourists.  Other popular leisure pursuits include tennis, swimming, Mandarin and English language training, and cooking classes.

There are various online forums for the Japanese expat community in Singapore, one example is on Expat.com

If you are interested in a move to Singapore or anywhere else in the world and would like to speak to Kingpin International about International Tax Opportunities, please contact a member of the leadership team. Alternatively, please browse our current international tax vacancies.

Are you an ambitious tax or transfer pricing professional pondering a relocation to Singapore? Discover our articles below for more tips and advice:

Tax expats guide to life in Singapore
Transfer Pricing and Tax business in Singapore
Top five places for tax expats to live in Singapore