When I talked to my long time Chinese friend in Japan, who is a software engineer, I reached to conclusion that this will be a tough year for software engineers in Japan. The environment surrounding them is totally different from the one in the past years. To say one word for software engineers in Japan, it used to be like "If you want I can work you." and the last few years "I can take that job." and now "I will do anything you tell me."
In Japan about 40% of software development is related to the one in financil industry. So when big mergers occur that means software engineers are needed. A good example is merger of Bank of Tokyo Mitsubishi and UFJ bank. But the system integration is ending this year. And more of Indian developers are comming to Japan market kicking out existing developers. Acom, a largest Japan's consumer loan company, used to outsource its ERP operation to Japan IBM but now asked Indian vendor, Nucleus Software, to implement their ERP package cutting 30% of total cost of 20 billion Japanese yen of IBM.
The pricing of software engineer in Japan is also declining so much. You can not refuse low priced job or short term project other wise you never find other jobs. About 10 years ago most of freelance Japanese software engineers got 1 million yen per month. Now programmers get only 300,000 yen/month. System analysts, if you are lucky, get 700,000 per month.
Now in Thailand Japanese software engineer is valued more than the one in Japan. Young Chinese engineers flocked to Japan dreaming that they become the same way as their seniors getting 1 million yen per moth. But it may be difficult for them to achieve this goal. I am afraid that Japan may need to ask Japanese to work overseas to earn money just like they did after WWII sending Japanese to Brasil.