The cause of Wednesday night's fire in the city of Sapporo, on the island of Hokkaido, was still being investigated and victims were still being identified, police said.
Public broadcaster NHK coverage of the fire showed flames engulfing the three-storey building surrounded by piles of snow. Aerial footage from Thursday morning showed the blackened, smokey remains of the building.
Three of the survivors were being treated at hospital but their condition was not life-threatening, police said.
The facility was run by a Sapporo organisation that helps people on welfare by providing food and assistance finding jobs, NHK said. Renters paid 36,000 yen ($330) a month, it said.
In March 2010, seven people at a Sapporo nursing home for elderly people with dementia were killed in a fire.
Last month, 37 people died in fire at a hospital without sprinkler system in South Korea injuring more than 150 people.
(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)