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How to open up a JP bank account without a Zairyu card?

vu7

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Hi there, I live in the US but I desperately want some JP bank accounts. I want to plan ahead. Is it possible for non JP Zairyu card holders to obtain a JP bank account in anyway possible? Or any other accounts and credentials related to Japan without actually getting the Zairyu?
 

Majestic

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I don't think you will be able to do that as a tourist or non-resident. You will need to show proof of residence, which is generally done by showing the residence card.
 

jt9258

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Hi there, I live in the US but I desperately want some JP bank accounts. I want to plan ahead. Is it possible for non JP Zairyu card holders to obtain a JP bank account in anyway possible? Or any other accounts and credentials related to Japan without actually getting the Zairyu?
To open any bank account you will need either a Residence Card or a Japanese issued Drivers License, however since the introduction of the MyNumber system, you may very well need to provide that, which you could not do as you are not a resident.

Japanese banks will also require foreign residents to close accounts once you leave Japan.
 

jt9258

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The below is as easy as it gets.
Open an account by mail | Shinseibank.com
If you want an account in one of the larger banks, nowadays it's almost like they want you to shoo off.
It may look easy if you are a resident.

To open an account there is a need to be a resident of Japan and the period of stay as indicated on the Residence Card should not be less than 1 year, also if you check that link you would notice that there is also a requirement to provide the MyNumber.

Check the PDF link http://www.shinseibank.com/info/pdf/news151230_mynumber_e.pdf
 

Made in Japan

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It may look easy if you are a resident.

To open an account there is a need to be a resident of Japan and the period of stay as indicated on the Residence Card should not be less than 1 year, also if you check that link you would notice that there is also a requirement to provide the MyNumber.

Check the PDF link http://www.shinseibank.com/info/pdf/news151230_mynumber_e.pdf
Yep. But on top of that, other banks make you fill in the documents in Japanese. And even your spouse can't fill it in for you!
Like I said, that's easy as it gets! XD
 

HanSolo

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The below is as easy as it gets.
Open an account by mail | Shinseibank.com
If you want an account in one of the larger banks, nowadays it's almost like they want you to shoo off.
Not true. Shinsei is garbage and anti-foreigner: stay away from them.

Original report: Report on attempting to open bank account at Shinsei bank | Japan Forum

Large and regional banks put up no such bullshit. Yes you need to fill in a form in Japanese, but that's not hard if you take your time and have an app like camdictionary.

I've noticed this as a general trend though: the banks most foreigners are encouraged to go to are the absolute worst for foreigners. HSBC in HK. Shinsei in Japan. Citibank in VN. Always go to the least foreigner-y bank first.
 

HanSolo

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As for OP: I've never heard of anyone opening a bank account without a resident's card. "Having a Japanese bank account" is really not that cool, so I'd forget about it. In Japan you are a meat unit and all meat units must operate strictly and without question according to nonsense and often injurious rules for the "good" of the colony. In free countries (usually non-1st world countries) you can just walk into a bank with your passport and open a bank account in less than 30 minutes. It's just a place to put money F.F.S.

So unless you want to beat them at their own game by studying the laws and finding a loophole and expending lots of energy to execute that loophole (like Masayoshi Son did in gaining citizenship without a Japanese surname), I wouldn't bother.
 

vu7

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As for OP: I've never heard of anyone opening a bank account without a resident's card. "Having a Japanese bank account" is really not that cool, so I'd forget about it. In Japan you are a meat unit and all meat units must operate strictly and without question according to nonsense and often injurious rules for the "good" of the colony. In free countries (usually non-1st world countries) you can just walk into a bank with your passport and open a bank account in less than 30 minutes. It's just a place to put money F.F.S.

So unless you want to beat them at their own game by studying the laws and finding a loophole and expending lots of energy to execute that loophole (like Masayoshi Son did in gaining citizenship without a Japanese surname), I wouldn't bother.
Great answer. I just wanted to open a Japanese bank+brokerage account so that I would be able to invest some of my money into a low cost Japanese index fund. Do you know if you are there for maybe a couple of years as a student or something, will they close your account and force you to sell off your assets if you leave Japan? And also if they forcibly close your account, how do they know exactly when you'll leave the country? Also will they close your account or force you to update it if your Zairyu card on their bank's database expires?
 

HanSolo

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Great answer. I just wanted to open a Japanese bank+brokerage account so that I would be able to invest some of my money into a low cost Japanese index fund. Do you know if you are there for maybe a couple of years as a student or something, will they close your account and force you to sell off your assets if you leave Japan? And also if they forcibly close your account, how do they know exactly when you'll leave the country? Also will they close your account or force you to update it if your Zairyu card on their bank's database expires?
You can just buy a Nikkei225 ETF in your home country.

They're not authoritarian in the "gonna get you" manner, they're authoritarian in the "do things our way or get excluded" manner. I've never heard of any such "forcible close" of accounts. They'll cancel your residency when you leave the country, but they won't beam out a broadcast to every company in the country saying "vu7 has left, erase him". That's just not how their brand of authoritarianism works. For now anyway.

Basically what you want to do is done far more easily locally in your own country.
 

vu7

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You can just buy a Nikkei225 ETF in your home country.

They're not authoritarian in the "gonna get you" manner, they're authoritarian in the "do things our way or get excluded" manner. I've never heard of any such "forcible close" of accounts. They'll cancel your residency when you leave the country, but they won't beam out a broadcast to every company in the country saying "vu7 has left, erase him". That's just not how their brand of authoritarianism works. For now anyway.

Basically what you want to do is done far more easily locally in your own country.
What you just said actually makes a ton of sense. You know, Vanguard Pacific mutual fund only costs around 0.10% in fees. And the cheapest Japanese low cost index fund would costs at least 0.17%! I'm talking about that it is actually cheaper to invest in Japanese equities from overseas investment companies that it is to invest directly with Japanese firms! Why is that even a thing and why aren't there any Japanese complaining the high investment cost reality they are being put under on a daily basis?
 

jt9258

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Why is that even a thing and why aren't there any Japanese complaining the high investment cost reality they are being put under on a daily basis?
Because they are educated to aceept everything and question nothing.
 

Made in Japan

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Not true. Shinsei is garbage and anti-foreigner: stay away from them.

Original report: Report on attempting to open bank account at Shinsei bank | Japan Forum

Large and regional banks put up no such bullshit. Yes you need to fill in a form in Japanese, but that's not hard if you take your time and have an app like camdictionary.

I've noticed this as a general trend though: the banks most foreigners are encouraged to go to are the absolute worst for foreigners. HSBC in HK. Shinsei in Japan. Citibank in VN. Always go to the least foreigner-y bank first.
I'm sorry to hear the trouble you've been through. And thanks for the link. Some good info there.
Several of my friends had the least hassle with them on opening their account but now I know they have their quirks.
Have you any other candidate? If not which bank you ended up with?
I hear some people tell me the Japan Postal Bank (Yuucho Ginkou) is rather on the helpful side.
 

HanSolo

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The rule I normally follow is: which bank does my landlord use? Use the same bank & branch as them and you're 'vetted' and also save fees paying rent.

If I don't have a landlord yet, I'll do one of two things: I'll google which the largest bank in the country is, and which isn't recommended to foreigners, and get an account there. If they block you, go to the 2nd biggest, and so on. Or I'll choose a local regional bank, to illustrate: in Sapporo I'd choose someone like Hokkaido bank.

I didn't hear any bad things about JP bank, but I didn't try them.
 

mdchachi

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I would question the desire to invest in the Japanese market in the first place. I haven't seen anything to indicate that being a good move for 20+ years. Although I admit I had some Japan focused funds at one point. Not something I would do now unless it's purely for diversification or some such reason.
When I was working there we actually had to deal with fixing our trading & settlement systems to allow the yields on Japanese Govt Bonds to go to less than zero. I don't remember if it actually happened or not.
 

vu7

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I would question the desire to invest in the Japanese market in the first place. I haven't seen anything to indicate that being a good move for 20+ years. Although I admit I had some Japan focused funds at one point. Not something I would do now unless it's purely for diversification or some such reason.
When I was working there we actually had to deal with fixing our trading & settlement systems to allow the yields on Japanese Govt Bonds to go to less than zero. I don't remember if it actually happened or not.
That's a very valid point. Especially considering that the Nikkei index fell even more when the US stock plunges. It's fascinating that when the US stock surges, ex-US stock doesn't surge as much and when the US stock dives, the ex-US stock dives deeper than anyone else.
 

mdchachi

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To open any bank account you will need either a Residence Card or a Japanese issued Drivers License, however since the introduction of the MyNumber system, you may very well need to provide that, which you could not do as you are not a resident.
Ironically my wife is now in a situation where she has to have a bank or brokerage account in order to cash in some stock certificates but she can't open one without the new MyNumber. And she can't get the MyNumber without a current domestic address residency. So now she says she just has to wait until they fix the law/procedures. Fortunately it's not an urgent matter for us but it could be putting some overseas residents in a bind.
 

johnnyG

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Great answer. I just wanted to open a Japanese bank+brokerage account so that I would be able to invest some of my money into a low cost Japanese index fund.
If you are US for tax purposes, you need to be really careful about any fund you buy in Japan. In fact, some brokers here will not sell funds to US persons (individual stocks are okay).

Read here: Passive foreign investment company - Wikipedia FPICs can be a tax disaster, and oddly enough, there is almost nothing out there that the IRS does not classify as an FPIC. You are light years better off retaining a US brokerage acct for investments.

E.g,
If a U.S. person receives income from a PFIC or recognizes gain from disposition of shares of a 1291 fund, such person is subject to a tax and interest regime.[5] A shareholder may elect out of this regime (see QEF below).[6] The regime applies only to any distribution or gain in excess of 125% of the average distributions for the prior three years. This regime is as follows: First, such income or gain (in excess of the 125%) is allocated pro rata to each day of the person's holding period for the particular shares. Next, the amounts allocated to prior years after 1986 are excluded from current year taxable income. Then tax is computed on amounts allocated to each prior year at the maximum rate of tax applicable to the type of taxpayer for such year (prior year tax). Then interest is computed on such prior year tax as if it were an underpayment of tax (interest charge). Finally, current year tax is increased by the aggregate of prior year tax amounts and interest charge amounts.[7]
The interest charges are computed using compound interest on an April 15 to April 15 basis.[8] Given a sufficiently long holding period, the tax and back-interest will exceed 100%. However, the shareholder may avoid >100% tax by periodically selling and repurchasing his holdings, using the after-tax proceeds to repurchase shares.
 
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