In Japan, many businesses still only accept cash. So when bank giant Mizuho had an epic fail, a lot of people were rightly panicking. A nationwide system failure hit more than 5,000 ATMs and affected their online banking platform too.
During the last Sunday of February, customers were unable to withdraw money or make online banking transactions. Worse, the poor folks that were using ATMs at the time of the failure saw their cards and passbooks swallowed by the now turned-evil-machines.
The glitch, reportedly caused by a data update of some sort, was solved by Sunday night. But many ATMs remained affected on Monday.
No money mo’ problems
“It seems that Mizuho ATMs are experiencing a nationwide error, with cards swallowed and not coming out. I waited over 30 minutes before being connected and getting my card back. It was hard because I stayed by the ATM and it dialed 110 and the police came. It seems there’s no hope to recover (the card). People using Mizuho today should be careful!”
Just keep waiting
— bunchan (@bunichi1) February 28, 2021
“Here’s the screen after the ATM swallowed and kept my card. Please do something. The built-in phone does not connect.”
— shamoji (@shamojiRice) February 28, 2021
“More than two and a half hours have passed since my card got swallowed by Mizuho bank! I’m in the awkward situation of holding the fort since my company’s money is inside. I’m still not connected with Mizuho. I’m starting to have fun explaining the situation and telling people that come in that, ‘you can’t use the ATM.'”
— 炸裂隆樹 (@sakuretsutakaki) February 28, 2021
“Mizuho bank’s ATMs became like an accident scene…”
— 主犯 (@moraqualitas) February 28, 2021
“Here’s the outside of the Mizuho Bank headquarters at Otemachi Tower. I wonder if people on the floors with the lights on are locked in.”
Banking in Japan
If you’re going to live in Japan, you should probably get up to speed with our banking and finance 101 guides. Using an ATM isn’t too complicated, and we got you covered with our Kanji Cheat Sheet, but bank transfers in Japan are another matter.
Here’s also a good vocabulary list to get you started with the language of banking in Japan:
|印鑑||inkan||Stamp used for official documents|
|通帳||tsuuchyou||Bank book (or passbook)|
|口座番号||kouza bangou||Account number|
|金をおろす||kane o orosu||Withdraw money|
|出金する||shyukkin suru||Make a payment|
|篭る||komoru||Be stuck in, confined in|
|目処(が)立つ||medo ga tatsu||There’s hope, there’s a good prospect for…|
|備え付けの電話||sonaetsuke no denwa||Built-in phone|
|籠城する||roujyou suru||To hold the castle/the fort, be besieged|
|羽目に||hame ni||Be in a plight, be in an awkward situation|
|係員||kakariin||A person in charge, clerk|
|タコ部屋||takobeya||Takobeya refers to an oppressive labor system in place in Hokkaido during the Meiji Era, which had workers forced to sleep in concentration camps. Their huts were called “takobeya.”|