Japan’s Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications has proposed measures to make it easier for foreigners staying in Japan for a short time and who do not have a residence card to apply for mobile phone contracts.
Major mobile service providers and distributors have been asked to implement identity verification procedures by using customer’s passports and also to provide multilingual assistance at their stores, Sankei Shimbun reported.
The measures are in response to the number of foreign workers which is expected to increase from April under revisions to Japan’s Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition Act, as well as the many visitors coming for the Rugby World Cup this year and the 2020 Olympics and Paralympics.
Currently, major mobile providers in Japan, such as NTT Docomo and SoftBank, require that non-Japanese show their alien registration card or have a Japanese bank account to get a mobile phone, which can be complicated for tourists and short-term residents.
Furthermore, the current regulations prohibit foreign visitors staying in Japan for less than three months to register for a mobile contract because carriers claim they lack the necessary means to verify the authenticity of passports. The ministry plans to alleviate this problem by providing stores with devices that can read biometric passports embedded with an electronic microprocessor chip.
In addition, the ministry hopes to provide multilingual service support at mobile phone stores and sales outlets by introducing interpretation support via video-phone calls and staff who can speak multiple languages. It also is requesting carriers prepare contracts in other languages besides Japanese.© Japan Today