What's a reasonable cost of living wage increase when being transferred from Toronto to Tokyo?
I work for a small Canadian company that has recently opened a Tokyo office. So far the office is staffed by local hires, with Canadian managers trading off a couple of weeks at a time in Tokyo. I have been offered the opportunity to be the first full time transfer from the Toronto office to the Tokyo office. I have accepted and am excited.
The new position will come with a base wage increase (~5%) due to increased responsibilities, but will also come with a cost of living increase on top of that (which will presumably be retracted if I later transfer back to Toronto). As the first employee making this transition, I have been tasked with presenting what I think to be a "fair" rate for this increase reflecting the actual expense of living in Tokyo. I'd like to find a number I can back up with evidence, I'd like to err on the high side (but not by much) to give room for negotiation (though I think they're likely to accept my estimate if it seems reasonable) but, more importantly, to give some breathing room for unexpected expenses.
So, help? Bear in mind that Toronto is already one of the world's most expensive cities to live in. Expatistan says that Tokyo is 13% more expensive than Toronto
, but I'm a little unsure of their breakdown.
So my question is, what's a fair and justifiable amount to ask for that also provides a small buffer against the unexpected? I'm think 15%, but is that too low?
1. We want to live in a house, not a high-rise. We currently have an 1200 sq. ft. 3-bedroom with a huge yard on the outskirts of Toronto-proper for which we pay about $1250 (CAD) per month. I know that we lucked out; that's surprisingly cheap for Toronto. I know we'll have to sacrifice the yard, and I'm certainly expecting to move into a smaller place square footage-wise, but we still definitely want a 3-bed in a house that's easily accessible to downtown Tokyo by transit. I know such neighbourhoods and houses exist in Tokyo, but does the expatistan estimate of +39% (122,000 yen per month) reflect the expense of such a place? Also, I understand that most Japanese rentals don't include basic appliances, is the cost of appliance leasing included in this estimate?
2. We have two small children, who will be 4 y.o. and 6 m.o. at the time we move. The four year old is currently in part-time day-care and we would like, for social reasons, to keep her in some sort of part time activity program. How expensive are those compared to Toronto?
3. We currently have a car and a motorcycle, which we will be selling. We aren't planning to buy a vehicle in Tokyo, provided we can live somewhere very close to transit. So that will save us a few hundred dollars a month on insurance/gas.
4. Health insurance. Canada has fully socialized health care, Japan has partially socialized health care (which we may not qualify for?). How much will insurance that would offer us the same basic standard of care we are used to in Canada cost for a family of four.
5. Neither my wife nor I have ever been to Japan before, so there are certainly expenses we aren't even aware of...
BONUS: The company is also paying relocation expenses, including return airfare for the family, an immigration lawyer to handle visas, shipping our non-furniture possessions, and paying for a relocation service to help me find a house, get my utilities connected, etc. What other major relocation expenses might I want to request be included?
Oh and please, for the sake of this question, let's focus on the monetary issue, not the many other aspects of moving to Japan like language barriers, culture shock, etc. Those are other questions!