Japan is the third biggest economy of the world, but the gigantic government debt and cost of 2011 earthquake did put the country in recession. Qualified foreigners stand a good chance of finding jobs in fields like IT, modeling, entertainment, gastronomy. Physical presence in the country and Japanese language skills are two factors that increase your chances of landing a professional job.
There are three other types of jobs that foreigners in Japan can take up with relative ease and use as stepping stones to better opportunities. The first is English Teaching, as language instructors are always in demand. The teaching job can be easy or difficult. For qualified TEFL/TESOL teachers able to explain the finer points of grammar the pay will be greater than for those who only teach simple conversation skills. Second is job of a translator. Of course this depends on how good your own Japanese is, but even if your Japanese skills are limited, you can still work as a translator. Finally jobs that involve sharing of Japanese culture are also readily available. These jobs give one the opportunity to absorb the Japanese culture, polish Japanese language skills and can eventually lead to the more professional jobs.
There are roughly a dozen different types of work visas that Japan makes available to foreigners wishing to work there. Each visa defines the type of work the foreigner is allowed to engage in. A job offer is necessary for applying to most visa types along with a degree and experience in the relevant field.