International money transfer policy: Japan
International money transfer policy: Japan

International money transfer policy: Japan

Published in
7 min readSep 19, 2019


All transfers overseas made by Japanese residents and companies are regulated by the Financial Services Agency and Ministry of Finance.

The Financial Services Agency has issued the basic confirmation items and other documents for all financial institutes to tackle money laundering.

Briefly, basic information items include such points as:

・ Is there an important reason for doing business at the branch where applied for remittance

・ Is the customer or its subordinate ruler based in a high risk of funding country / region

・ Why make transfers within a short period of time

・ Is there any irrational point in the purpose of remittance and the amount of remittance in light of the age, occupation, business contents, etc. of the customer

・ Is there a discrepancy between the purpose of transaction at the time of opening an account and the purpose of remittance when requesting remittance

・ Is there any irrational point in transaction frequency and amount, such as sudden deposits and withdrawals of funds that have not been funded.

Government control

To prevent financial terrorism the Japan Government has been monitoring all overseas transfers of more than JPY 2,000,000 (USD 18,777). The monitoring is handled by the Bank of Japan. The bank or remittance provider that handles the transaction must supply details of the transfer to the Bank of Japan. Customers may be asked to provide personal information, such as driver license, as proof of the identity of the person to complete the transaction.

According to the Foreign Exchange and Foreign Trade Law, a report to the Minister of Finance is required if payment exceeding JPY 30,000,000 (USD 280,200) and is received between Japan and a foreign country or between a resident and a non-resident. When it exceeds, it is necessary to must submit a “Report on Payment or Receipt of Payment”.

Such payment or receipt of payment includes not only those using legal currencies such as Japanese yen and US dollars, but also those made using virtual currencies.

Those are the annual money transfer overseas limits set by government for individuals or company. According to the Bank of Japan Act, monetary policy financial institutes must “continue close communication with the government and ensure sufficient communication”. That is not opened information on the internet about amount of that limits from government but banks and remittance services show their info on the websites, and banks have higher per-transaction sending limit than remittance services. Remittance services typically have a top limit between 500 000 yen ( USD 4,600) and 1 million yen (USD 9,200) per transaction, banks usually set limit per day not per transaction, and its from 1 million yen will 10 million yen (USD 92,800), but an information varies from bank to bank. For instance, one of the bank leader Japan Post Bank Co. and Japan Post Co. plan to limit the amount of funds that can be sent via their overseas bank transfer service to tackle money laundering to 5 million yen (46 500 USD) per day.

Required documents (individuals)

When transferring money from Japan

・ Remittance purpose, relationship with recipient, source of funds for remittance, profession and business of sender, nationality and place of residence of recipient, date of birth

When receiving funds to Japan

・ Payment purpose, relationship with the sender, occupation and business of the recipient, nationality and place of residence of the sender, date of birth

・ Confirm that the transaction is not regulated (North Korea, Iran, Cuba, Syria, Crimea)

Required documents (companies)

・ Documents (contracts, invoices, transportation documents, etc.) for confirming transaction details

・ Documents that can prove the funds for remittance

・ Identification documents and accounting materials etc.

OFAC (Office of Foreign Assets Control)

All remittances in US dollars are subject to “OFAC regulations” in Japan. OFAC regulations apply to foreign exchange transactions when:

・ When Iran, the Republic of Sudan, North Korea, Syria and Crimea are included in the location of the parties to the transaction, the countries concerned, and the places concerned

・ In the case of transactions involving Myanmar, transactions involving the Ministry of Defense, the military or other armed organizations

In many cases, regulations regarding remittances to sanctioned countries are often applied, and Japan is sensitive to the above regulations. Even if the purpose is legitimate, it may not accept the remittance procedure.

​Bank wire fees and limits

Average fee for remittance overseas japanese banks charge ~6 000 yen (56 USD), based on example of lead japanese bank Mitsubishi UFJ, SMBC, Mizuho Bank.

Nonbank online remittance providers

Japan allowed nonbank companies to enter money transfer services in 2010, but set a cap of 1 million yen (USD 9,000). Banks were able to retain their monopoly on remittances higher than that amount, mostly between businesses. But from this year operated in Japan remittance services are allowed to operate summ more than USD 9,000. Main remittance online provides players in Japan are: Western Union, MoneyGram, GoRemit, others.

Cryptocurrency policy

Japan is one of the top active crypto trading markets. Cryptocurrency exchange businesses are regulated by the Payment Services Act. Financial Services Agency (FSA) registers platform for cryptocurrency exchange businesses. The law on cryptocurrency transactions must comply with the anti-money laundering law. The Payment Services Act defines “cryptocurrency” as a property value (limited to that which is recorded on an electronic device), which can be used for the purpose of paying consideration for the purchase of goods, services and which can be mutually exchanged.

This year the Japanese House of Representatives issued two cryptocurrency-related laws, the Payment Services Act and the Financial Instruments and Exchange Act. First change that crypto service providers will need to be registered with the Financial Services Agency (FSA) even if they don’t provide crypto exchange or trading services. Secondly, exchanges must change how they store crypto.

To virtual currency exceeds the equivalent of 30 million yen the same rules are applied the Foreign Exchange and Foreign Trade Law and report to the Minister of Finance is required.

Major examples of transactions involving virtual currencies that need to be reported:

・Transactions to buy or sell virtual currency, where payment or receipt of payment was made in legal or virtual currency for the transaction

・ Transactions to exchange virtual currency

・ Transaction to transfer virtual currency

・ Payment related to profits, dividends or commissions arising from transactions related to virtual currency, or receipt of payments

・ Deposit or accept payment of deposits when depositing or entrusting transactions related to virtual currency

・ There is an original transaction related to goods, services or finance, and payment or receipt of payment was made in virtual currency for the transaction

ATM withdrawals

It appears that there is no daily cash withdrawal limit set out in law. The maximum withdrawal amount is determined by banks independently. A quick search found that, on average, banks set a default amount of JPY 500,000 (USD 4 600) per day. However customers can change this in the settings of their online accounts.

ATMs may charge service fees around. If amount withdrawal is 10,000 yen or less (<93 USD) charge is 108 yen (1 USD). If amount withdrawal is 10,000 yen (>93 USD) charge is 216 yen (2 USD)

Also, bank may add an additional fee which depends on the card type.

Credit card

There are monopolists on Japan market such as Orient Corporation (Orico) and LINE Pay. Visa has agreed upon an issuance of a new credit card in Japan through collaboration with Orient Corporation (Orico) and LINE Pay. The Japanese cardholders will be offered reward points and they will benefit from a streamlined payments experience at home and abroad using Visa contactless payments.

There are no restrictions on the use of Japan-issued credit cards overseas. Basically, VISA, Mastercard and JCB brands can be used overseas. The amount of money you can use varies from individual to individual. The limit is determined by the individual’s income when applying for a credit card.

When a foreigner uses a credit card in Japan. Even if it is a credit card issued by the popular VISA, MasterCard, a card without an IC chip cannot be used. Merchants also to be required to have IC Chip readers for credit cards.

When sending money overseas from a credit card, users can only send money using online providers, for example, Paypal.

Prepaid cards in Japan

There is not so much info in internet about prepaid card usages in Japan. But it seems like some local banks issue prepaid cards as well as companies like Line. Mostly it is VISA, Mastercard and JCB.

Money to Japan

There is no limit on the amount of money you can send, but you will be asked to submit identification documents when you send money over 2 million yen. ex) Driver’s license, insurance card. A report must be submitted if the amount exceeds 30 million yen. (Foreign Exchange and Foreign Trade Law-Article 55).

STICPAY for Japan for Japanese customers

STICPAY offers to open a local currency account in JPY, local bank wire deposit and withdrawal payment method in Japan within 1–2 days, and our very own prepaid STIC card available in more than 177 ccountries.

Sources: ml hou_20180518.htm¥5-million-day-tackle-money-laundering/#.XXhZoCgzaUk