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Tuesday, May 31, 2005


Residency, repairs, finance and printing

Permanent Residency

You've probably addressed this question before, but if you could enlighten me once again, I'd be grateful, indeed.

If a person has permanent residency and leaves Japan, how long can they be gone without losing that status?

Or, to put it another way, how often and for how long must a person return and stay in Japan in order to keep permanent resident status?

The longest you can remain out of Japan is for the period of your re-entry permit. If you are outside of Japan beyond the date of your re-entry permit expiration you will lose your permanent residency. Technically the longest would be for three years.

For more details please call Mr. Nakai at (03) 6402-7654.

Apartment Repair

I have been living for 7 years in a rental housing.

Repairs from wear and tear (wallpaper, tatami, etc) should be done. The landlord is asking for another contract renewal fee. How can I get him to make the repairs. I don't want to move.

Also, if I move, is there a special lawyer dealing with the practice of landlords blowing up the amount that can be subtracted from the initial deposit?

Last time I moved, the landlord asked for the full 3 months deposit saying that so many repairs had to be done, which was not true.

Your landlord or apartment manager is responsible for all reasonable repairs that come from normal use.

The best way to start is to speak with the real estate agent that got you the apartment. If he cannot get them to do it -- he usually can as the landlord needs a good relationship with him, then have your sponsor -- the one who signed for your apartment -- try.

If all else fails, a call from a lawyer should do it. Check with Mr. Watanabe at (03) 3222-5361.

From Our Readers

We got a huge response from you guys regarding ATMs, credit cards and sending money.

Bryan writes: I travel to Japan frequently on business and have maintained a Citibank account for that purpose. You can deposit U.S. dollars at a Citibank in the U.S. and it can be withdrawn in yen at a Citibank in Japan.

If you withdraw at a Citibank ATM, there is no service charge and the exchange rate is better. Citibank has several 24-hour ATMs across Japan and the Citibank card can be used at other ATMs as well.

With U.S. issued credit/debit cards, the issuing bank often has security features so that a card used outside the U.S. or in out of the ordinary areas will not clear.

You should call the issuing company to let them know that the card holder is in Japan and that charges should be permitted.

And reader John in Australia writes: My wife and I visited Japan in 1997 and again in 2004, staying with friends and "going solo."

We had very little trouble with currency, taking a mixture of Japanese currency for initial expenses and using Visa cards &/or travelers checks for the rest of our time.

The checks were American Express, written in yen, and we found that Visa cards could be used in many businesses, especially hotels, and could be used for cash advances at the larger banks with international facilities, (eg Tokyo Mitsubishi; Mitsui, Sumitomo etc.).

The same banks had no trouble converting our travelers checks into cash.

Travelers should be aware, though, that not all banks displaying the Visa logo can provide this service as some are local city banks (e.g. Hiroshima bank). We found out the hard way!


Need to get quick business cards and printing done? Call Matsuo Printing at (03) 3432-1321 and speak to Mr. Okusa. They can do it all in English.

Ken Joseph Jr, directs The Japan Helpline at www.jhelp.com or on 0570 000 911

Send your queries, questions, problems and posers to lifelines@japantimes.co.jp

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