It is about time that Japan attend to the issue of housing due to its burgeoning foreign population. With declining birth rate, Japan has to boost it by accepting more international people. However, language barriers exists. If Japan gears towards internationalization, this barrier should be resolved.
The government and house owners should provide documents that foreigners can also understand, in addition to verbal explanation. During the years that I lived in Japan, I was fortunate that Japanese friends and foreigners who could understand the language helped me in understanding my apartment manager.
The water, gas, electric and all the other bills, and important documents like academic records, fire and health insurance were written in the Japanese language--which I did not understand.
There was one survey conducted by the Sapporo government that I answered. I suggested that foreigners should be provided documents that they can easily understand. I hope that the local government had taken that suggestion.
Altogether, living in Japan and not learning the Japanese language is not really a "death sentence". Living in Japan is still very much comfortable compared to many countries. This is just my way of saying that to make it more comfortable, the Japanese and the foreigners should meet halfway if only to break the language barrier. Read on...