Leaving Japan

Find out how to close bank accounts, end contracts for utilities and insurance, export cars, move pets and notify residency officials when leaving Japan…

Financial Issues

Banking

All banks should be notified when leaving Japan, either to close an account or to change address. Accounts can be closed by visiting the local branch with identification documents. To change an address, the bank needs the account details and both the new and previous addresses.

Tax

When an individual leaves Japan they must ensure that they pay all taxes for which they are liable. If taxes are owed, a tax agent, who is resident in Japan, must be chosen. A "Notification of Tax Agent" must be submitted to the local tax office; this agent is then responsible for dealing with all tax procedures on behalf of their client.

  • For contact details for regional and national tax offices: Click here

If an agent is appointed prior to leaving the country then the period for filling a tax return is from 16 February until 15 March, by which point tax is due. All tax must be paid before departing Japan if an agent hasn't been appointed.

  • For information from the National Tax Agency on leaving the country: Click here

Social security and pensions

Individuals who have paid into Employees' Pension Insurance for at least six months are entitled to a refund upon leaving Japan.

  • To find out more from the Japan Pension service and to download the necessary form: Click here

Those enrolled in the National Insurance scheme should visit their local municipal office to inform them of the move.

Insurance

All insurance companies (health, property, vehicle, life) should be informed about an intended move and a claims history requested where possible.

Resident Card

Anybody leaving Japan permanently should return their resident card or alien registration card. This is done by handing it in to the immigration inspector at the airport when leaving. This ensures that all authorities are informed that an individual is no longer resident in the country; it is also required in order to claim back a pension lump sum. It also ensures that no further taxes need to be paid.

Note: the resident card replaced the alien registration card in July 2012 as part of the new residency management system, although the alien registration card remains valid until July 2015.

Rented Accommodation

Notice periods can vary and are stipulated in the contract, as are the contract's termination procedures for both the tenant and the landlord. Notice periods are generally one to two months and may, depending on the terms of the contract, need to be given in writing. Leaving a rental property before the end of the lease may incur a penalty fee or losing part of the security deposit.

The property should be left in the same condition as it was initially to have a security deposit returned.

Utilities

Before leaving Japan all utility companies (electricity, gas, water and telephone providers) should be informed so that the service can be stopped.

Water

The local government's waterworks division (Suido Tanto-ka) should be contacted.

People living in Tokyo should contact the Tokyo Water Service. Applications to stop the water service can be done online, the customer service number is required when cancelling the service.

Electricity

The local electricity provider should be contacted to end supply. Electricity suppliers in Japan include:

The customer service number is required to cancel an electricity contract. The final bill must be paid when cancelling the contract. This should be done in person at a customer centre; terminating a contract when leaving the country is not possible online.

  • For information on closing an account when moving house from TEPCO: Click here

Gas

The local gas provider should be notified of the intention to move.

Telephone

NTT East or NTT West customers should contact the company to cancel the landline contract, only the subscriber of a landline can cancel the telephone service. If the customer chooses to transfer the subscription right to the new occupant, they must fill in a "Request for Approval for Transfer of Telephone Subscription Rights" (Denwa Kanyukentou Joto Shonin Seikyusho). A resident card/alien registration card is required as well as the personal seal (inkan) or signature of both the current and new subscriber.

  • For further information:
    • NTT East
      Tel
      : 0120 364 463
    • NTT West
      Tel
      : 0120 064 337

Schools

Parents with children in the Japanese school system should go to the Board of Education office at their local municipal office or city hall to notify them of the move.

Parents of children in an international school should notify the school about their child's departure and ask for their academic records and a certificate of attendance. New schools should be contacted well in advance to ensure that places are available when needed.

Mail Forwarding

Japan Post provides a mail forwarding service for up to one year, which can be arranged at the post office or online. To apply for the service, fill in a mail forwarding application form (tenso todoke) form at any post office, indicating the date of the move.

Alternatively the service can be requested online, although the service is only available in Japanese.

Exporting a Car

The customs requirements in the destination country should be checked well in advance of moving so that all documents and paperwork can be prepared. Consulates or the embassy in the new country can provide information on registration and licence obligations.

Exporting Pets

The rules regarding taking a pet animal out of Japan will depend on the destination country; vaccination and quarantine regulations are highly variable. The animal must meet Japanese exit conditions as well as entry conditions for the destination country. In Japan the Animal Quarantine Service, or AQS, is responsible for overseeing pet transport. Direct contact with them is advisable to ensure that all conditions are met.

The Japanese AQS requires most pets to have a health check before they leave the country. Cats and dogs need to undergo a health inspection to check for rabies and, in dogs, leptospirosis and rabies. This is done during export quarantine, 12 hours prior to leaving and is generally quick and straightforward.

  • For further information, requirements for other animals and to download export application forms: Click here

An embassy, consulate or a national quarantine service in the destination country should be contacted to find out details of the entry requirements.

It should be noted that sudden disease outbreaks can affect pet transportation. Some airlines insist that a professional pet exporter is used to arrange flights for an animal to ensure that everything is completed on time prior to departure.

The International Air Transport Association provides guidelines on how to transport an animal by air. To travel by air the container must allow the animal to stand and turn normally as well as sit and lie in a natural position.

  • For advice from the International Air Transport Association on transporting an animal and preparing for the journey: Click here

Travelling can be very traumatic for an animal, so it advisable to allow them to get used to their travelling crate in the months leading up to the flight. Different airlines have different regulations so the rules for a chosen carrier should be checked when planning the journey.