How to Leave Japan – A Timeline
In conjunction with our article detailing how to move within Japan (link available HERE), below you will find a handy JAPAN LIFESTYLE GUIDE for those who are planning on leaving Japan altogether.
Two Months From Your Moving Day
Let people know that you’re going!
First of all, do inform your workplace that you’re planning on going; this is mostly as a simple courtesy- unless your job flew you over here in the first place. You never know; you may just receive a flight home!
Then, contact your real estate company or your landlord. They will tell you about what procedures to follow, as well as any costs you will be responsible for when moving out. This is typically done at least 5 weeks away from your moving date.
It’s worth mentioning that simply up and leaving will undoubtedly make things more difficult for anyone who comes after you, so do pay it forward and handle your move in an appropriate fashion.
Take care of your taxes!
Because you are leaving the country, tax procedures may be more complicated than if you were simply moving within Japan, so do not leave this until the last minute. Depending on when you move, you may require a tax agent to file Japanese taxes on your behalf. You can hire an accountant to act as your agent, but this isn’t strictly necessary; a friend or colleague within Japan can also file taxes for you. Needless to say, it is probably best to ask in advance.
A simpler method is to do your taxes online at an online filing service such as E-tax. If your employer can provide you with a Statement of Income (also known as源泉徴収表(Gensenchuhyo) in Japanese), you can use it to file.
See the links below for more information on using E-tax.
One Month Out
Start sending your stuff home
While moving your possessions within Japan is relatively simple, once again, it becomes more complicated to do it internationally. Unfortunately, it is apparently no longer possible to send your stuff home via freight, so you will likely have only two options.
Using the Post Office: For packages that are below 200,000 yen in value, you may choose to have them delivered by the Japanese Postal Service. First, you must create a Japan Post International My Page account. Details on how to do so can be found in the links below. Be sure to detail all of the items you wish to ship. Then, bring them to your nearest post office, or call 0800-0800-111 for free pick-up service if your items are too heavy.
Using a Shipping Company: Another option is to use a shipping company. For example, did you know Kuroneko has an international shipping service? More details can be found in the links below.
Sell your stuff
Anything you don’t want to take home with you will eventually have to be gotten rid of. These days, many people use groups like Mottainai Japan or Sayonnara Sale to get a little bit of money for things they would otherwise need to throw away. Another option is to see if there are any recycle shops nearby that will purchase your goods. In the case of heavier items, recycle shops may or may not be able to pick it up from your home, so do confirm ahead of time.
Get rid of everything else
Whatever you don’t decide to send home or sell will have to be thrown out. Of course, anything that does not count as oversized trash doesn’t have to be thrown out this early, but in the case of oversized trash (known as Sodai Gomi), you will have to make a reservation with a town pick-up service, so you don’t want to wait too long to do this. Click HERE for more information on trash, including how to arrange for oversized trash pickup.
Alternatively, if you have noticed any recycling trucks prowling around your neighborhood, feel free to negotiate a pickup with them, but this will likely require the most Japanese of any of the options listed.
Less than a month out
End all service agreements
All utilities in your home must be turned off before you go, including electricity, water, and gas. Unfortunately, this is your responsibility. If you receive paper bills for electricity, water, gas, television, internet, as well as any newspapers or magazines you subscribe to, you can call those numbers to arrange for stoppage of service. Naturally, you do not want this date to be too far from when you actually go, unless you feel like taking cold showers in the dark. In the case of internet or television service, you may incur a charge for breaking contract.
Close your bank account
It is advisable to close and empty any bank accounts under your name before you leave Japan. You may not transfer your account to anyone else. You need to make sure your last month of rent, as well as any other regular deductions from your account, are fully paid before you do this.
Bring your residence card, passport, bankbook, and hanko (personal seal) to your bank and fill out any paperwork necessary to close your account. If you have more than one hanko (for example, a kanji hanko and a katakana one) you must use the one you opened the account with.
Submit your Moving Out notice
Go to your city/town office to submit a Moving Out Notification form (tenshutsu-todoke, written as 転出届).
Your day of departure
Return your room key, either after completing a room inspection or by post. Your residence card will either be collected at the airport or hole-punched, making it invalid.
This is only applicable if you have been paying into the Japanese pension system, and if your employer has not been filing pension exemptions on your behalf. You can choose to begin the refund process before you leave, or wait until you return home.
Should you choose to begin the process while you are in Japan, as long as you’re not a Japanese citizen, and have paid into the pension system for at least 6 months prior to leaving, 1-2 days before leaving obtain a “Lump-sum Withdrawal Payment Arbitration Bill” (dattai ichijikin seikyushou) from your city office. You will need your blue pension book to fill out this information, so make sure your company returns this to you if they have been keeping it. This form must arrive at the Japan Pension Service after your departure date, so it’s best to send it off just before you leave. Include copies of your passport, bank book, moving out notice (tenshutsu todoke) 転出届け) and a Certificate of Residence (juminhyo, 住民票). You will still need someone to act as your agent, however.
You may request a pension refund up to two years after leaving Japan. You will need a representative to file on your behalf, and then send you the refunded amount. More information can be found in the links below.
Traveling after your visa ends
In unforeseen situations where it is impossible to get a flight home before the expiry date on your visa, or if you simply want to kill some time before you return home, it may be possible to apply for a “temporary visitor” status. People sometimes do this, for example, to give themselves some time to travel around the country after their job has ended. Please be aware however, that Japan is known for prosecuting visa overstayers very harshly.
About Lump Sum Withdrawal Payments
Japan Post International My Page Account info
Yamato International Moving Service