Mobile Phone Contract in Japan and the Problems

Mobile Phone Contract in Japan and the Problems Japan

Mobile phones are essential for daily life. Japanese people can sign up for a mobile phone contract quite easily. However, when a foreigner tries to sign up for a mobile phone contract, there are a few restrictions such as contract procedures in Japan and some preparations of the necessary documents.

In this article, we will explain what foreign workers need to be aware of when signing a mobile phone contract, the key points of accepting foreign workers in Coronation and introduce a recommended mobile phone service specializing in foreign workers.

Problems with mobile phone contracts

Mobile phone services available for foreign residents

In Japan, mobile handsets and SIM cards are often purchased with the agreement as a set. On the other hand, other countries outside of Japan, it is known that mobile handsets and SIM cards are purchased separately. And in some other countries, the handset is usually a SIM-free device that can be used with a SIM card from any mobile phone company.

In Japan, the three major carriers (docomo, au and SoftBank) are now allowing SIM unlocking, and SIM free devices. They are becoming more popular, but there are still cases where you are forced to sign a contract for a mobile phone and SIM card.

It is not uncommon for foreign nationals to have difficulties in obtaining a mobile phone contract in Japan.

Each mobile phone company does not specify their criteria, but it may be that a certain period of residency is required depending on the payment method, or that it is difficult to pass the screening if you have chosen an installment contract for your handset and SIM card.

What exactly are the screening criteria?

For example:

  • Payment can only be made by credit card or account transfer.
  • The period of stay must be at least 26 months.
  • The contractor must be fluent in Japanese.
  • The applicant must be fluent in Japanese.

Mobile phone services available for foreign residents

There are two types of mobile phone services (SIM cards): pre-paid and post-paid.

For short-term visitors (prepaid)

Prepaid SIM cards in Japan are available at airports and convenience stores. They are intended for short-term stays of less than 3 months. If you have a data-only SIM card with no voice calls, you can use it immediately after registering your details.

Long term stays (postpaid)

If you are a long-term resident (3 months or more), you will need a phone number to rent a house, open a bank account or register with the authorities. The best type of SIM card for this purpose is called a postpaid SIM card with voice communication, which is a mobile phone service that allows both calls and data transmission.

Foreigners need to go through the same identification procedures as Japanese to sign up for this service. In general, the following documents are required for foreigners to sign a new mobile phone contract.

  • Identification documents: Residence card, special permanent resident certificate, health insurance card, passport, driving license (except international driver’s license), etc.
  • Cash card or bankbook
  • Personal seal (registered seal)
  • Credit card (in the name of the subscriber)

Please note that if you have a contract with one of the three major Japanese carriers, you will also need to bring the bankbook or cash card of the account where you pay your monthly bill.

Mobile Phone Service for Foreigners


Global Trust Networks (GTN) provides a range of support services for foreigners living in Japan, including rent guarantees, real estate brokerage, employment support, mobile phones and credit cards.

GTN MOBILE, the mobile phone service provided by GTN, is a service specializing in foreigners, and has been awarded the “No.1 mobile phone company chosen by foreigners” in a survey by General Research.

GTN MOBILE 6 Features

Feature 1: SIM card only contract is available

There is no need to sign up for a mobile phone and SIM card, so you can use your existing mobile phone. You can also use your existing handset without having to buy a new one.

Feature 2: Same day review and same day delivery

Your application will be processed and your SIM card will be sent out on the same day, so you can start using your mobile phone immediately. With a web application, all you need to do is fill in the required information and upload your ID, and you will receive your SIM card by post.

Feature 3: No credit card or bank account required

You can choose from a variety of payment methods including convenience store payment, automatic bank withdrawal and credit card. Even if you don’t have a bank account or credit card, you can still sign up.

Feature 4: Language support in your native language

We offer support in 6 languages, so you can consult with us in your native language not only in the period of contract, but also after the contract is completed. When you encounter some problems during the contract term or when you cancel the contract, we also provide support by phone, email and chat application.

Feature 5: High speed, high quality and comfort

We support 4G/LTE. We use Softbank line which is available in all areas of Japan, and you can use high-speed internet comfortably.

Feature 6: Free domestic calls of up to 10 minutes

A SIM with voice service (3GB data capacity) starts at just 1,680 yen/month, and you can make domestic calls of up to 10 minutes free of charge and international calls to over 130 countries and regions worldwide.