MBA Japan

Japanese Banking


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Japan's conventional banking system was divided into visibly defined components in the late 1980s: commercial banks (thirteen most important and sixty-four smaller local banks), long-term credit banks (seven), trust banks (seven), mutual loan and savings banks (sixty-nine), and several specialized financial institutions. During the 1980s, a rapidly growing group of nonbank operations- such as consumer loan, credit card, leasing, and real estate organizations-began performing some of the conventional functions of banks, such as the issuing of loans.

In 1990, the five biggest banks in the world, calculated by total assets, were Japanese banks. These banks opened branches overseas, obtained existing foreign banks, and became engaged in new activities, such as underwriting Euro-yen bond issues. The investment houses also amplified overseas activities, principally participating in the United States Treasury bond market (where as much as 25% to 30 % of each new issue was acquired by Japanese investors in the late 1980s). So, starting March 1989, the five biggest city banks in Japan (in order of total finance volume) were Dai-Ichi Kangyo Bank, Sumitomo Bank, Fuji Bank, Mitsubishi Bank, and Sanwa Bank.

Japanese banks are typically open Monday to Friday from 9:00 to 15:00.

Opening an Account

With the purpose of opening a new bank account, you will require a foreign registration card, a registered hanko, and a home address in Japan. Once your account is set up, you will receive an account book and a banking card (ATM card). Monthly declarations are not provided by banks in Japan. As an alternative, a summary of your bank transactions are printed out in your account book. You can update your account book at an ATM or at your local division at your best convenience. You can inspect you transaction records through your bank's internet banking service. Personal checks are not usually used in Japan. People prefer to use cash or credit card when shopping or making other transactions. Your banking card can also be used at cash dispensers (CD), where only withdrawals are permitted.

A savings account is necessary during your stay in Japan. Usually with a savings account you will be permitted to make unlimited withdrawals and deposits, and monthly interest is applied.

Transactions among accounts inside your bank (or even among different banks), are performed via wire transfer at an ATM or through internet banking. Monthly rent and utility bills can be paid through automatic withdrawal from your bank account. It is possible to withdraw cash using both your registered hanko and account book at your local branch counter. Your registered hanko and account book should always be kept in safe keeping.


Automatic teller machines (ATM) can be found at division locations, convenience stores or at ATM stands at train stations. To find an ATM location, visit your bank's website. ATM's are commonly closed on weekends and national holidays, but 24-hour ATM's have become more available in recent years.

At ATM's, you can make deposits and withdrawals, balance inquiries and update your account book. When making cash deposit, the ATM will count your deposit and display the amount for you on the monitor. Some ATM's accept coins for deposit. You can make withdrawals in any denomination of 1000.

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