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Yes, Foreigners are Eligible for Japan’s ¥100,000 COVID-19 Stimulus Package

From how to receive the money to whether you can claim stimulus payments from your home country, here’s what you need to know.

By 5 min read

Update: The website to apply for the Stimulus Package is now online. Please see below.
The coronavirus has been wreaking havoc on the global economy as many people have been ordered to stay home. To help ease the burden on those facing dire economic situations, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe unveiled plans for a stimulus package that will grant all Japanese residents a one-off ¥100,000 cash payment.

Foreign residents in Japan are eligible for the stimulus payout as long as they submit an application. Here is a quick breakdown.

You can use the links below to jump to the relevant section

What is the household stimulus package

Who is eligible for the money

How to apply

Apply online

When are the applications being mailed out

Do not fall for scams

Call center

Can you get stimulus money from your home country

What is the household stimulus package

Earlier this month the government unveiled plans to provide a ¥300,000 tax-free cash benefit to low-income households. While it was welcome news for many facing financial hardship, the proposal was scrapped on April 16 as it was deemed too complex and unclear.

As an alternative, the government will be giving every resident ¥100,000, regardless of income.

Who is eligible for the money

In previous news reports, the government used the term “citizens” not “residents” so there was some uncertainty as to whether foreigners living in Japan would receive the payment. It’s now been made clear that the payment will be available to non-Japanese nationals too. 

The government has also released a special PDF explaining the stimulus package in English.

Since the payment is based on the Basic Resident Register, foreigners can apply as long as they have a valid Residence Card. There will be no restrictions based on income or how long you’ve been a resident of Japan. 

As long as you are registered in the Basic Resident Register as of April 27, 2020, you are eligible for the money. That includes yourself and other registered members in your household. The beneficiary is the “head of household” of the household to which the person belongs.

Some GaijinPot readers living in Japan may also be eligible for payments from their home countries.

Prior to this announcement, there was quite a bit of discussion on whether foreigners should receive the previously proposed ¥300,000. Liberal Democratic Party house of councilors member Onoda Kimi tweeted that foreign residents should be exempt.

Ironically, Onoda was born in the United States to an American father and a Japanese mother and didn’t relinquish her dual citizenship until 2017. Since her remarks, there have been calls and even a petition urging Onoda to resign.

Thankfully, these comments will have no effect on foreigners’ ability to receive the stimulus payout.

How to apply

Your local municipal government (city, town, or village) office will be sending out subsidy application forms addressed to the head of every household in Japan. You will need to mail the completed application form to your local government office, along with a copy of official identification, such as your driver’s license. This will also verify who is the head of the household.

To receive the money, you will have to fill in the required information, which includes the details of the bank account where you want the subsidy to be deposited.

Apply online

A means to apply online with a My Number Card is also available. This allows you to verify your identity with a digital signature without having to mail a copy of identification. The URL can be found here, but it is only available in Japanese.

Payments will only be made via bank deposit.

When are the applications being mailed out?

Each municipal government will decide the starting date on their own. Unfortunately, this means different municipalities will have different starting dates. Applications will be accepted within three months of the starting date. The acceptance date can be found on the application form.

This website shows the release schedule. It is updated periodically, but is only available in Japanese.

Do not fall for scams

To ensure that in-person contact is avoided, the payments will only be made via bank deposit. For residents without a bank account, the government is considering allowing them to receive the payment in cash.

That being said, you will never be asked to input ATM information or to pay transaction fees.

Other than the initial application forms, the government will not contact you by mail, phone, or email. Outside of that application form, anyone trying to contact you about your stimulus money is trying to rob you.

Call center

The Ministry of Internal Affairs has set up a call center for questions about the stimulus package. However, it is only in Japanese at this time. The number is 03-5638-5855. The hours are 9 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. It is closed on Saturdays, Sundays, and national holidays

Can you get stimulus money from your home country

Some GaijinPot readers living in Japan may also be eligible for payments from their home countries.

U.S

If you’re a US citizen, then you may be eligible for the government’s Economic Impact Payment, which is a $1,200 payment for eligible individuals with no qualifying children.

Essentially, if you are still a US Citizen with an active bank account and you have filed US taxes in the last two years, you’re eligible to apply. If you haven’t filed taxes in the past two years you might still be able to apply, with some additional paperwork. Follow the instructions on the IRS website.

Australia

The economic relief system in Australia is focussed on those already in the country’s welfare system, so there are no stimulus payments available to those outside the country. For more details check out the ATO website.

UK

The current UK system is based heavily on those who have lost their jobs (both UK citizens and international residents). So, at the moment, it looks as though if you’re not living and working in the UK, access to any type of additional payment isn’t available. Keep an eye on the UK government website for updates.

Philippines

For citizens of the Philippines, the government’s current stimulus packages are focused on low-income households and those who have lost their jobs. So unlike the US, there doesn’t seem to be much in the way of additional financial support for non-residents.  

Check back here for updates as further information becomes available.

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