Been here in Japan 12 years mate, and you're right, the investment options here suck. Be very wary of them, they will take all your money in outrageous fees--3% in and 3% out of some "investment" options. It's a scam.
Send the money back home and manage it there. I recommend setting up a Vanguard account back in the UK, then you can invest in Vanguard index funds. Vanguard charges no commission for buying and selling their funds when you have a Vanguard account. I have nearly all my money there (Vanguard US), and I use the free Personal Capital online software to understand how to best manage the allocations in my portfolio. Of course you'll lose a bit of money on wire transfer fees, but you'll more than make up for it if in the long-term, and they may also be offset by currency rate anyway (right now the yen is strong, so a good time to use it to buy GBP). Also you may never need to send the money back to Japan unless you plan on retiring here.