"I'll definitely consider countries like Germany, Oz, NZ, etc."
I don't recall, are you Australian?
If not, look at some of the posts I've put up about Australia.
First of all, you'd find that compared to Japan, the cost of living here in Oz is much higher than in Japan.
Electricity, water, natural gas, food, eating out, insurance, and especially housing is very costly. Both rent and buying. Interest rates are much higher for borrowing and the costs of buying such as stamp duty are high too. And if you'd see some of the construction practices that have gone on over the past couple of years in regards to new houses, I'd be very careful of buying one!
Next, the economy here is supposedly 'good', but that really depends on your occupation and age. And don't even think for a second that you'll get what the Australians here call 'a fair go' when looking for work if you are a foreigner or an Australian with foreign experience.The older you are the less likely you'll get a job too.
The economy here is so good that the central bank is going to probably cut rates to 1.25% on Tuesday and the wonks are talking about two more cuts after that this year. Of course, the commercial banks won't pass along the cuts in full to their customers either.
Incomes can be good, if you can get a decent job, but if prices are twice as much as in Japan and your income in Japan is half as much, what is the difference? Taxes here are IMO still high, but much lower than when we first came to Australia.
For example, a simple case of a single person making $72,000 a year in wage income (About 5 million yen at today's exchange rate) or A$6,000 a month would pay about A$15,000 in income tax and Medicare Levy.
If you have kids, you'd probably get some cash from the government. A spouse won't any difference other than you'd have to account for extra living costs as the government here taxes people individually rather than as a couple (As opposed to in Japan with the deductions and offsets.)
Retirement here is great if you have lots of assets or income though.
Then, once you've lived in Japan, you'll never experience the customer service, quality of products, or choice of products that you once did. The Internet here is slower than slow for most of the country and still costs a lot.
Your choice of products is limited and even that seems to be becoming fewer day by day
(For example, I drink leaf tea and when the A$ was much higher I used to buy some good quality tea cheaper from overseas cheaper than the Twinings leaf tea here in the supermarkets and that included the postage too!!
Now that the A$ has sunk like a rock to around 69 cents, that is no longer possible so we buy from an Australian place that is more expensive for the tea, but is cheaper than paying the postage from overseas. So running low the better half tried to buy the stuff only to find that they were out of stock.
No problem, I'll just go to to the supermarket to buy some of that Twinings Earl Grey and mix it half and half until we can order from that other place. Off to the supermarket to do the weekly shopping and buy some tea too.....................
Yep, they no longer stock Earl Grey leaf tea. Nope. Not any brand. Not a leaf of Earl Grey anywhere. Okay, so off to the other nearby big branded supermarket and guess what?
Yep, they don't stock it anymore either!!
We are not talking rocket parts or some really unusual food, but tea. So off to another supermarket down the road.
Finally, they have some in stock.
And don't think that it is limited to tea either. You can go into a supermarket here and find that they don't have any milk in stock. Or they have run out of eggs (supply problems). Dog food too.)
Like Japanese rice? You can buy a brand of rice here called Sun Rice 'Sushi Rice' in 10 kilo bags, but the places that sell it may or may not have it in stock and frankly speaking, the quality and taste just isn't the same as Japanese rice.
So you want to eat Japanese rice? Yes, there are places here in Melbourne now that stock it and sell it to individuals. However, the place we buy from was out of stock for months so it was back to that other rice. Yuck. And by the way, the price is almost the same as in Japan, but depending on the stock levels it can get quite old.........
Lastly, one of my biggest pet peeves about this place is eating out. Too expensive and compared to Japan the quality sucks. It takes forever to find a decent place to eat at that has reasonable prices and consistent quality. The they go out of business or the owner changes and then it time to start all over again.
I really don't want to pay A$40 for steak only to find out that it tastes like crap............
Anyway, if I were you and were thinking of moving to Australia, I'd have a job lined up before moving here and be prepared to pay through the nose for costs of living.
Melbourne is much cheaper than Sydney, but more expensive than Japan. A decent townhouse where I live which is an hour and 10 minutes commute to the CBD will cost you at least 50 million yen. That is if the trains are actually working or a hour commute if the highways aren't clogged or blocked.
And FYI, just another example of living in Melbourne, the world's (worst?) most liveable big city. We got caught in traffic during the afternoon rush at 4:00pm going to fill up the car with gasoline last week. It took 20 minutes to move less than 400 meters and according to the kid, that is normal for that time of the day on that road..................