Tweet of the Week 121: System Failure Hits 5,000 Mizuho Bank ATMs

ATMs are eating everyone's bank card in Japan!

By 3 min read

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


“Here’s the screen after the ATM swallowed and kept my card. Please do something. The built-in phone does not connect.”





“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.'”


“Mizuho bank’s ATMs became like an accident scene…”



“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:

Japanese Romaji English
銀行ぎんこう ginkou Bank
印鑑(いんかん) inkan Stamp used for official documents
通帳(つうちょう tsuuchyou Bank book (or passbook)
キャッシュカード kyasshyu kaado Cashcard
口座番号(こうざ ばんごう kouza bangou Account number
手数料(てすうりょう teisuryou Handling fee
(あず)() azukeire Deposit
()() hikidashi Withdrawal
かねをおろす kane o orosu Withdraw money
出金しゅっきんする shyukkin suru Make a payment


Japanese Romaji English
全国的ぜんこくてき zenkokuteki ni Nation-wide
発生はっせいする hassei suru Appear
われる suwareru Be swallowed
コールセンター koorusentaa Call center
つながる tsunagaru Connect
こも komoru Be stuck in, confined in
目処めど(が) medo ga tatsu There’s hope, there’s a good prospect for…
そなけの電話でんわ sonaetsuke no denwa Built-in phone
籠城ろうじょうする roujyou suru To hold the castle/the fort, be besieged
羽目はめ hame ni Be in a plight, be in an awkward situation
いま imada Still
私服しふく shifuku Plainclothes
係員かかりいん kakariin A person in charge, clerk
事故現場じこげんば jikogenba Accident scene
タコ部屋べや 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.”



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