A credit union in Numazu, Shizuoka Prefecture, has turned down an application for a new account with the word "Islam" in the account name.
The Numazu Credit Union denied 66-year-old Kaniro Saito's application to open an account after bank personnel noted that the account name was listed as "The Japan Friends of Islam Society," TV Asahi reported Tuesday.
On Feb 24, Saito phoned the bank in order to open his account and proceeded to follow the automated prompts, answering basic questions regarding his account name, organization/corporate name, phone number attached to the account, and address. After providing his answers, he received a response several minutes later, "We are sorry, but you will be unable to open an account at our bank."
Saito works as a professor of Arabic language studies at a university in Japan, and writes a blog that focuses on current events in Middle Eastern countries.
A credit union spokesman was quoted as saying: "Not only did his account name include the word 'Islam,' but we could not determine whether or not Mr Saito's organization would be used to secretly send money to fund the radical efforts of groups like Islamic State. As such, we had to make a judgment call and decided to turn his offer down."
Saito told media, "Well, with all the news about Islamic State floating around as of late, I suppose these bank officials and everyone else hold a prejudice against all followers of or those interested in Islam. It's a real shame."
After Saito's case was made public, the National Credit Union Association told the press that it is continually working together with individual branches across the nation to help combat potential schemes to fund international terrorism through money laundering and other illegal activities.© Japan Today