Japan has just introduced the Highly Skilled Foreign Professionals visa.
1. Three categories of activities
The activities of the highly skilled foreign professionals are classified into the following three categories:
(i) Advenced academic research activities「Highly Skilled Professional(i)(a)」
(ii) Advanced specialized/technical activities「Highly Skilled Professional(i)(b)」
(iii) Advenced business management activities「Highly Skilled Professional(i)(c)」
According to characteristic features of each category of the activities, points will be set to each item, such as “academic background,” “professional career,” “annual salary,” and “research achievements.” Applicants are evaluated by adding up their points and making reference to the category of activity that they intend to engage in.
More info here: http://www.immi-moj.go.jp/newimmiact_3/en/evaluate/index.html