Japan's Must-Read Magazine


All banking institutions offer electronic transfer services (furikomi) that make
it very easy to pay your rent, utilities, and other bills such as cell phone,
sports club membership, Internet provider and more. You will probably have your
monthly salary deposited into your bank account, after which you can arrange to
either pay automatically from your account every month or create a special card
(furikomi-ken) to use when making payments. Intra-bank transfers are generally
free, as are utility payments. Moving money to another bank or for other payments
costs about ¥300-¥500.

What You Need to Open an Account
You need to have a proper visa, and usually an official address, to open an
account in Japan. (Note: You cannot open an account on a tourist visa.) Your
alien registration card and another piece of photo ID (usually your passport,
but a Japanese driver’s license or school ID will probably suffice) are also
necessary. Note that some banks require a minimum deposit to open an account,
and others may require a minimum amount of time left on your visa.

While most Japanese need an official seal or chop (inkan or hanko) to “sign”
documents, foreigners can usually use their written signature. Banks in urban
centers are usually cognizant of this, but if you are out in the back of beyond
and trying to open an account, the customer service representative may insist
that you use an inkan for official signatures. Generally, if you show your passport
signature and the alien registration card signature, they will let you sign. Note
that you as an individual (as opposed to a corporation) have no legal obligation
to create a chop. Your signature is legally satisfactory for all documents in
Japan. However, if you do make a chop and use it to “sign” an official
document, it may become practically impossible to have your signature accepted
in lieu of your chop thereafter. Think carefully before having a chop made and
using it for official documents. For more on getting an official seal, see the
Immigration and Legal Matters chapter.

English-Language ATMs
Citibank, Shinsei, Sumitomo Mitsui (SMBC) and Mizuho have English-language ATMs,
although only Citibank machines offer English-language services that are as
extensive as its Japanese-language services. The post office ATMs provide English-language
guidance if you are using a post office-issued ATM card

Online Banking
Here again, the big banks offer much more convenience by remaining on the cutting
edge of technology, although other banks are quickly following suit. You have
to have an account at the bank, and in many cases you also have to register
specifically for online services; presently, only Citibank and Shinsei offer
such services in English.

Internet use is limited to domestic transactions. You can move your money
between accounts, including foreign currency-denominated accounts, pay your
utility bills, and check your balance. You will need to check with your bank
to find out the specific charges for this service. Contrary to what you might
be used to at home, higher fees are charged by some banks for Internet transactions
than for regular ATM or teller transactions.

If you have a postal savings account, you can sign up for the Postal Savings Home
Service and move your money using your phone, fax or cell phone. Presently, Internet
services for this are only available in Japanese. Fees range from free to ¥180
for mobile phone settlement.


(Japanese only)

Shinsei Bank

Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation
http://www.smbc.co.jp (Japanese only)

http://www.ufjbank.co.jp (Japanese only)

Post Office
Post Office General Information:
Post Office Remittance Information:

Postal Savings English Hotline:
(0120) 085-420
(Toll free, Monday through Friday, 08:30-18:00)

GoLloyds Remittance Service:
(03) 3589-7745.

Western Union/Suruga Bank
Information is available toll-free at (0120) 882-515

Credit Cards
Post Office Information

Yahoo! Japan Credit Card Information (In Japanese)

Toku Shop Credit Card Information (In Japanese)

US Internal Revenue Service (IRS)
Go to ‘Individuals’ and then ‘Overseas Taxpayers’ to access IRS Publication

National Tax Office Website

Tokyo Regional Tax Bureau, Foreign Section
(03) 3216-6811





Chubb/Federal Insurance Company
Kowa Nishishinbashi Bldg. 11F, 2-1-1 Nishi-shinbashi, Minato-ku, Tokyo, 105-0003
Phone: (03) 3519-8130
Fax: (03) 3519-8135

Financial Investments

Meyer Asset Management

Japan Society of Investment Professionals (JSIP)