Category Archives: LIFE SUPPORT

Conservative country, conservative banks

Opening a bank account in Japan can be a real nightmare. In fact, only a few banks offer papers, staff and services in English, and some of the more traditional Japanese banks such as UFJ, Risona, Mizuho and SMBC are good choice only for those who are fluent in Japanese and plan on staying in Japan for long.

To open an account in Japan you need: work/student visa (bring your passport), or the enroll letter from the school (入学許可書), your Japanese ID (在留カード), and telephone number. Some banks require an inkan (印鑑), which is a personal seal used for signing official documents (certain banks will allow you to use your signature instead). 

Japanese post bank 

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Japanese Post Bank is the easiest option for foreigners who want to open a bank account in Japan for convenience and ease of use. Opening an account here is quite easy and doesn't require ink.

Branches and ATM points are usually homogeneous distributed in most of Japanese city areas, a point which is better don't underestimate (nobody likes to spend hours of own spare time for bank's stuff).  In addition, this is also the only Japanese bank that will allow underage students to open their own bank account, and one of the few banks that don't charge fees for money transfers from overseas to a Japanese Post Bank account. 

Japanese Post Bank is definitely the best choice. 

SMBC & Shinsei 

Shinsei Bank is more English-friendly than Post Bank, and all services (including telephone support and online banking) are available also in English. This bank also offers foreign currency accounts, which are useful for travelers, and for anyone who need to send money from Japan to the overseas and inkan signature is not required.

Unfortunately unlike Post Bank, Shinsei Bank branches are concentrated in the center of most metropolitan areas (except for Tokyo), which is inconvenient if you live in outlying districts.

SMBC Trust Bank is another good choice for foreigners who need banking services and support in English. 

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Most of this banks offers a regular deposit account (普通預金) with a check card (for ATM operations, etc), a debit card (which requires to apply separately), and  passbook (通帳) containing your account details and transaction records, updatable at your bank’s ATM points.
We may also suggest UFJ Mitsubishi Tokyo Bank, one of the most popular banks in Japan. This bank has conservative policy about foreigners (you need a strong command of Japanese language to open an account here) though, the quality of the bank services (internet banking, security, application for smartphones, etc...) are the best, and UFJ ATM points are almost everywhere.

Bank documents are complicated stuff, but don't worry!
As our life support service includes assistance with bank account opening, we can safety guide you through Japanese bank 
procedures!

Keep in mind that if you are here on a tourist visa, you won’t be able to open an account.

There are three important steps to take upon arriving in Japan:

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1st -
Foreigners with long-term visa are required to register for a Residence Card (在留カード) at the airport. This ID card is required for many activities in Japan, such as opening a bank account, purchasing a sim card or a mobile phone.

Within 14 days of settling down, new arrivals must go to the nearest ward office with the new address (better write it on a piece of paper), Residence Card and passport.

The new address will be printed on the back of the residence card. Better keep always the card with you during your stay in Japan.

Remember to bring the card along with your passport when you’ll be leaving the country to travel outside of Japan.

2nd -
It is mandatory to join the national health insurance system (国民健康保険).

Premiums are based on income, so as a student with no income or a little income, premiums will be affordable.
Better enroll the same day you visit the local ward office for resident registration.

The National Health Insurance covers
70% of medical bills, so patients pay the remainder.

Students or working holiday visa holders should enroll, because accidents happen and it’s much better for your peace of mind
and for your budget to be safe and insured.

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3rd-
Foreigners who live in Japan must have their personal seal (印鑑), which is a personal seal used to sign official documents.

4th -

Opening a bank account can be difficult, as only a few banks offer papers, staff and services in English, and the biggest banks, such as UFJ, Resona or Sumitomo are not available if you don’t already have a strong command of the Japanese language.

Keep in mind that if you are here on a tourist visa, you won’t be able to open an account.

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Complicated, but don't worry, we are here to help you and guide you through all this steps!

国民健康

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The Japan National Health Insurance scheme is mandatory by the Japanese government for Japanese citizens and any non-Japanese (including students) residing in Japan with a medium-long term visa. Short-term students must apply for medical insurance in a private company or travel agency in their home country before leaving for Japan.

 Patients must show the insurance card at every doctor’s visit. The National Health Insurance covers 70% of the medical bills, while the insurer will be charged of the remainder.

All medium or long-term students should enroll in the National Health Insurance system as soon as they arrive in Japan.  

Without national health insurance cover patients will be charged of 100% of medical bills, which may have severe consequences on a student budget. That’s why we highly recommend the National Health Insurance for our long-term guests for a safe and secure stay in Japan. 

Enrollment

Applicants must go to the city/ward/village office for residence registration (住民登録), so it may be more convenient to fill out the application on the same day. People must join the national health system by end of the second week from becoming eligible, including changing of employment status or moving from another municipality. Those who don’t register may be charged for back payments.

Insurance premiums are calculated on income so students with little or no income will pay the lowest premiums, though for working holiday visa holders, as their income is boosted by their wage, the rate may be higher. Annual National Health Insurance premiums are divided into 10 installments which can be easily paid at any convenience store or by automatic bank payment

Patient can't benefit from National Health insurance when:

He/she failures to follow doctor’s instructions, or intentionally inflict injury to themselves (included injuries resulting from drunkenness, fights, crime or suicide).

His/her visa is touristic.

He/she demands for treatment unrelated to illness (health examinations, preventative medical services, cosmetic surgery, orthodontic works, normal child delivery/abortion for economic reasons, etc.).

He/she gets injured at work (treatments should be covered by worker’s compensation or by the employer insurance).