Whether you’re leaving for a few months or for forever, here are things you need to do when leaving Japan.
One of the first things you’ll want to do is organize your stuff so you know what you’re keeping, trashing, and donating. Depending on how many belongings and what space you have, this could potentially be a big project. Make sure to give yourself enough time to look through everything. Use this time to figure out how you’ll bring your belongings home, whether you’re mailing it, taking it on airline luggage (if you have only small amount of goods to take home) or shipping as unaccompanied personal effects using the services of an international moving and shipping company like us. Visit this page and you will see what shipping options are available and suit your needs.(e.g. Japan Post, Service by sea, air, courier etc.) As we reiterate on this website, depending on how much things you ship, you should be using a different shipping method to save money. Also read some money-saving and other practical tips for shipping your personal goods on this page.
Make sure your bills are paid in full before you leave, or leave some money in a bank account to cover your last months’ worth of bills. To cancel your phone contract, you’ll need to go to your carrier’s store in person. Check to see what kind of contract you’re under, so you can avoid fees. Some plans allow you to cancel your phone on a specified date, but others will cancel your plan the day you go in. You can cancel your internet contract by calling, and you may have to send in the modem.
If you have a Visa, you’ll want to check the dates to see when it expires. If it expires before you plan on leaving, you can apply for a Temporary Visitor Status of Residence at the immigration office. You can remain in Japan for up to 90 days as a tourist with a valid Visa. You’ll need to visit City Hall or the Ward office to inform them you’re moving, where you’ll fill out a “Moving Out Certificate.” If you have a National Health Insurance Card, you’ll give it back to City Hall or your employer, whichever one gave it to you. Also, return your residence card to the immigration office at the airport when you are leaving Japan. They will punch holes in the card and give it back to you. It will be needed when you apply for your pension refund.
It’s possible to claim your pension money if you’ve been paying into Japan’s pension plan. You’ll fill out a form called the “Claim Form for the Lump-Sum Withdrawal Payments,” and it can be mailed into the Japanese Pension Service anytime within two years of moving out of Japan. Appoint a tax representative before leaving Japan, because pension money is subject to a 20% tax. Your representative can file for a tax refund and transfer it to your bank account.
You can check your lease to determine how much notice is required to give your landlord when you leave. This can be as little as two weeks, but it’s usually a month. From that point, your landlord will have someone assess the damage on an appointed day and determine how much of your deposit you’ll receive back. A cleaning fee of about 20,000 yen is normal and expected. You normally don’t have to pay for normal wear-and-tear repairs.
Once you’ve decided what you’re keeping and throwing out, you’ll have to organize how you’re throwing away your large trash items. You may have to make arrangements to dispose of larger items, like appliances, furniture, and large electronics. If you want to leave them out for garbage pickup, you’ll need to buy corresponding stickers from the store. Large trash items won’t fit in a standard-sized trash can. Some cities, like Tokyo, have websites with an online application for large garbage.
Mail won’t be forwarded to addresses outside of Japan, so if you have someone in Japan who is taking care of the mail you receive, you can fill out a “Change of Address Notification Card.” Mail will be forwarded to that person up to one year.
Leave closing your bank account until the very end, so you can keep your money in the bank for as long as possible. Make an appointment with your bank. They’ll have you sign a lot of paperwork, and they’ll probably cut up your credit card. They will give you the rest of the balance in cash.
When you go to the airport, you’ll need to give your residence card to the immigration official. They will punch a hole in it and give it back to you. You will need to keep it because you’ll need it if you’re going to apply for the pension fund.
While none of these things are fun, organizing your time and planning ahead has its benefits. You’ll leave stress free with your belongings secure, and you’ll still have all your good memories.