Bitcoin purchasing and racial profiling by Quoinex and BITPoint Japan: Hurdles for NJ customers only

mytest

Books, eBooks, and more from Dr. Debito Arudou (click on icon):
Guidebookcover.jpgjapaneseonlyebookcovertextHandbook for Newcomers, Migrants, and Immigrants to Japan「ジャパニーズ・オンリー 小樽入浴拒否問題と人種差別」(明石書店)sourstrawberriesavatardebitopodcastthumbFodorsJapan2014cover
UPDATES ON TWITTER: arudoudebito
DEBITO.ORG PODCASTS on iTunes, subscribe free
“LIKE” US on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/debitoorg
https://www.facebook.com/embeddedrcsmJapan
http://www.facebook.com/handbookimmigrants
https://www.facebook.com/JapaneseOnlyTheBook
https://www.facebook.com/BookInAppropriate
If you like what you read and discuss on Debito.org, please consider helping us stop hackers and defray maintenance costs with a little donation via my webhoster:
Donate towards my web hosting bill!
All donations go towards website costs only. Thanks for your support!

Hi Blog. We’ve talked before about differing standards for NJ in regards to equal treatment as consumers, customers, residents and taxpayers, equal pricing for services, and access to credit. Now here’s another report about barriers for NJ only to purchase Bitcoin, the international cryptocurrency, in Japan.

I didn’t know much about Bitcoin until recently (here’s a good primer from NPR’s Fresh Air with Terry Gross), but now it’s become a legitimate currency, accepted by the likes of Microsoft for payment, so denial of access to it affects Japan’s NJ residents’ abilities to pay a bill easily, quickly, and without extortionate bank fees. (Especially ironic is that the pseudonym for Bitcoin’s creator is “Satoshi Nakamoto”, but never mind.)

I’ll let Debito.org Reader Shiki take the keyboard from here with his report.  Dr. Debito Arudou

//////////////////////////////////

From: Shiki
Subject: Discrimination of good and services based on nationality
Date: December 2, 2017
To: debito@debito.org

Hello Dr. Debito,

Recently, because of the Bitcoin fever, I’ve been looking at bitcoin and other crypto exchanges in Japan, and signing up for almost every single one of them.

Most of them have presented no problem, they follow the law in which they have the obligation to ask for an official ID,  just like PayPal does in Japan, for which I have been sending the front of my Personal Number Card (My Number Card), and then they send you a post card to your address to confirm you actually live there.

That’s what these exchanges and basically any virtual money company in Japan is required to do by law.

That’s except for 2 exchanges, Quoinex and BITPoint.

The law states that any valid official ID can be used, but these 2 exchanges only accept a Resident Card for foreigners, and Quoinex go so far as to ask for a passport to those individuals who are Japanese but are “suspected” of being foreigners from their names, etc. (basically racial profiling).

The following is the conversation I had with the support staff from Quoinex who, after more than a week after I sent all my info in, told me “My documents didn’t match”.

—————————
QUOINEX Support (QUOINEX Japan)
Nov 15, 3:08 PM JST
平素より大変お世話になっております。
QUOINEX運営事務局でございます。
このたびは、弊社に口座開設をお申込みいただき誠に有難うございます。
口座開設審査にあたり、下記項目に関しましてご返信いただきますようお願い申し上げます。
【氏名の表記につきまして】
申込時にご入力いただいた氏名と本人確認書面に記載の氏名に相違がございました。
恐れ入りますが、正確な氏名とフリガナをご教示いただきたくお願いいたします。
氏名:
フリガナ:
ご返信をいただき次第、口座開設手続きを再開させていただきます。
引き続きQUOINEXをよろしくお願い申し上げます。

—————————
Shiki
10日前
これはどういうことなのか全くわかりません。
今でももう一回確認しましたが、入力した名前と本人確認に使った書類には全く同じ名前が書いています。

—————————
QUOINEX Support
10日前
平素より大変お世話になっております。
QUOINE運営事務局でございます。
ご返信ありがとうございます。
このたびは、弊社に口座開設をお申込みいただき誠に有難うございます。
口座開設審査にあたり、下記項目に関しましてご返信いただきますようお願い申し上げます。
【国籍につきまして】
現在口座開設審査の手続きを進めており、その一環として国籍をご教示いただきたく
お願いいたします。
日本国籍でない場合は、下記の内いずれかの本人確認書面が
必要となりますのでご提出をお願いいたします。
・在留カード
・特別永住者証明書
・外国人登録証明書
日本国籍である場合は、確認の為下記の本人確認書面をご提出をお願いいたします。
・パスポート
ご返信をいただき次第、口座開設手続きを再開させていただきます。
引き続きQUOINEXをよろしくお願い申し上げます。

—————————
Shiki
10日前
申し訳ありませんが、法律上では外国人であっても個人番号カードは身分証明書になります。
法律上では在留カードの提示が必須となる場面は入国管理官や警察官に提示を命じた時のみとなります。
後、日本国籍ではパスポートのみというのは可笑しいですね。パスポートは本来誰でも持っている身分証明書のではなく、海外に行くときに使われる身分証明書のはずです。
そして、パスポート使わずQUOINEXでアカウントを開いている人知っています。
実際にあなた達のサイトでは私は出している個人カードが使えると書いております:
https://quoine.zendesk.com/hc/ja/article_attachments/115008790827/document_details.pdf
もし私の名前か顔で在留カードかパスポートのみというポリシーを取っているのであれば、それは法律上では人種差別的な行為になるます。

—————————

After this, I went to their public telegram group and posted about this, for which I received the following answer:

—————————
この度は当社の対応に気分を害されたとのこと誠に申し訳ございません。
QUOINE は犯罪収益移転防止法に則り口座開設審査を行っておりますが、仰るとおり本法律には国籍を聞くことまでは求められておりません。
ただし当社が内規として行うKYCスクリーニングのため、国籍情報を使用しております。そのため氏名等で外国籍の可能性のある方は、内部プロセスとして、上記のご案内を行っております。(実際に、外国籍で在留カード以外を提出される等の方がいるため)
金融庁登録の事業者としての責任を果たすため、上記プロセスをとっております。
ただプロセスについては改善途中でして、重ねてになりますが、今回の件について、お客様に不快な想いをさせてしまいましたこと誠に申し訳ございません。
—————————

What Quoinex basically says is that they are asking for “proof” of nationality as part of their KYC (Know Your Customer) policy, which somehow does not apply to people who are not suspected of being foreigners.

The other exchange, BITPoint, basically rejected my registration, and told me to send them both sides of the Resident Card, as the following main shows:

—————————
お客様へ
この度は、ビットポイント総合口座開設に必要な本人確認書類をアップロードしていただき、誠にありがとうございました。
さて、書類を確認させていただきましたところ、「在留カード両面」と「振込先金融機関の口座名義人(カナ)」の確認ができなかったため、
本人確認が完了しておりません。
度々申し訳ございませんが、当社では外国籍のお客様の口座開設の際には、「在留カード両面」と「振込先指定口座の口座番号および口座名義(カタカナ)」が
表示されている書類のコピーの提出をお願いしております。
大変お手数ではございますが、以下の本人確認書類アップロード用URLから、再度ご本人確認書類のご提示をお願い申し上げます。
弊社にて、お客様のご本人確認書類の確認が取れましたら総合口座の開設手続きは完了となり、お客様のご登録メールアドレスへ「総合口座開設完了のお知らせ」を送信いたします。
その後、ご登録住所へお取引に係る重要な情報を記載した『口座開設完了のお知らせ』を、簡易書留(転送不要)にて郵送いたします。
・在留カードの両面
・振込先金融機関の口座名義(カナ)が確認できる書面
(通帳の1ページ目など、ネット銀行等で通帳が発行されていない場合は、キャッシュカードやネット上で表示されてる部分をコピーの上アップロードをお願いいたします。)
本人確認書類アップロードURL
[Redacted]
本メールと行き違いで本人確認書類をご提示いただいておりました場合は、なにとぞご了承ください。
なお、このメールにお心あたりがない場合やご不明な点等がございましたら、大変お手数ですが下記カスタマーセンターまでお問い合わせくださいますようお願いいたします。
【弊社カスタマーセンター】
お問合せフォーム:https://www.bitpoint.co.jp/contact/
TEL:0120-210-040(平日9:00~17:00)
e-mail:support@bitpoint.co.jp
今後とも、ビットポイントジャパンをご愛顧賜りますよう、よろしくお願い申し上げます。
—————————
ENDS

Shiki: Let me be very clear, most exchanges do not ask for this. I registered with the major Japanese exchanges like bitFlyer and Coincheck among other minor exchanges. With all of them I used my Personal Number Card, and no one told me I had to do something different because of my face.

But like these 2 exchanges, more and more companies who like racial profiling are starting to ask for the Residence Card for extra-legal purposes, basically discriminating in the way people are able to open accounts or register to services based on their nationality unless you comply with some extra requirements.

One of the worst examples of this is AU [as did NTT and Softbank], which is starting to reject foreigners for buying phones in multiple payments, if the expiration of their current status in Japan does not exceed the payment timeframe for their phones, which is usually 2 years. This basically means that if your current stay permit is of 1 year, or your stay is about to expire in less than 2 years, you won’t be able to get a phone at the same price than Japanese people.

Let’s remember that the maximum stay period in Japan for most visas is of 5 years, and that you cannot renew your stay until 3 months prior to the expiration date of your current permit, which I would make the case that it excludes most foreigners under a non-permanent residency status.

“日本国籍をお持ちでない方で、在留期限がある方が個別信用購入あっせん契約をお申し込みされる場合、在留期限が確認できる書類および、クレジットカードが必要です。在留期限が分割支払い期間に満たない場合、個別信用購入あっせん契約をお申し込みいただけない場合がございます。”

Just like the My Number law states very clearly that it is illegal for someone who isn’t required by law to ask for your “My Number”, or taking copies of the part of your card which shows the actual number, I think we require a law to stop people who for asking for someone’s Residence Card if they aren’t legally required to do so. In some respects I would argue that the information inside the Residence Card is in many respects just as sensitive as your “My Number”, and asking for it is an invasion of privacy at best.

I’m also wondering if there is any law, even in those international agreements like the one used for the Otaru case, that makes it illegal to have different requirements based on someone’s nationality.

Sincerely, Shiki

ENDS

(Answer from Debito:  There are laws protecting against unsanctioned Gaijin Card checks.)

==============================
Do you like what you read on Debito.org?  Want to help keep the archive active and support Debito.org’s activities?  Please consider donating a little something.  More details here. Or even click on an ad below.

7 comments on “Bitcoin purchasing and racial profiling by Quoinex and BITPoint Japan: Hurdles for NJ customers only

  • I recently went to open an account with Mitsubishi UFJ, and halfway through they asked for my gaijin card, under the pretense of “confirming my American nationality.” (Under U.S. tax law, U.S. citizens are apparently required to report foreign bank accounts to the U.S. government.) This was after I had provided my SSN (an identification number issued to all American citizens, for those unfamiliar) on the account forms.

    What was particularly suspect was that the teller initially used the phrase “在留カードとか,” without appending any other examples of what might be acceptable forms of I.D. We went back and forth a few times, but I very clearly told her I wanted her to provide proof that I had a legal obligation to comply (I knew I didn’t), otherwise I was viewing her request as no more than a 勝手な request from the company. She eventually relented, claiming that “on the basis of trust” they would accept my application without the gaijin card check.

    It only leaves me wondering two things: how many people had until that point thoughtlessly complied with the illegal request, and what the hell the bank does with illegally collected data from gaijin cards.

    I wish I could say this is a uniquely Japan problem, but even a cursory search on the Internet reveals that most Americans will gladly cooperate with human rights violations, and even go so far as to chastise others who dare stand up for their rights. Good example here, and see the comments for examples of those who have embraced their oppressors. Fair warning, this video may piss you off.

    Reply
    • Jim Di Griz says:

      Great post HJ!
      The thing that really bites about all this illegal document copying being done left right and center is how much of an identity theft liability it is.
      Typical ‘safety country’ foolishness.
      It’s illegal for these people to copy your gaijin card.
      I’m pretty sure it’s illegal for them to copy my passport.
      And I’m damn sure know that my credit card insurance would be invalidated if anyone used this info to commit a fraud, and the credit card company found out I’d voluntarily handed over the info for copying.
      It’s another case of Japanese ethnonationalism thumbing its nose at international norms thinking its being strong, when in reality it just turns people and business away from Japan.

      Reply
    • Loverilakkuma says:

      Thanks for your posting. I was wondering how ID thing would work for NJ in case of opening a bank account in Japan. I know it is required to produce a SSN if you have one (for US tax law), but a tricky thing is that it may not be enough (since I know a non-American can obtain a SSN for work/tax purposes). So there’s still a chance that you may be required to produce any valid photo ID. I understand that in some circumstance like opening a bank account or making transactions involving certain amount of money, you may have no choice but to do so. But that doesn’t have to be a passport or zairyucard, unless you are going to open a bank account as a new resident in Japan. Once you open a bank account, there’s absolutely no reason to show any photo ID. Your account book or a bank card should be your ID for any business transaction. No exception should be allowed based on who or how a customer looks like. That is my understanding.

      What really bothers me, as you do, I think, is that some of these Japanese establishments seem to take it for granted that they can demand access to sensitive information–which is exclusive to legal and intelligent authorities– as if it were their privilege. Asking a zairyu card for verification of US citizenship? WTF!? Hope such ignorance would not lead financial institutions to racial profiling as a normalized practice in the name of security.

      — It will and it has.

      Reply
  • I once tried to exchange an Australian 50 dollar note (a birthday present from my Mum) for yen at a Mizuho bank and the teller asked for my passport. Being a resident I didn’t have my passport with me. She became remonstrative and scowled at me like I was some kind of criminal and refused to exchange it. I came back an hour later with a Japanese co-worker and he exchanged it for yen (while I was standing beside him) without any questions asked or ID shown.

    Reply
  • This anecdote relates to Korean racism at the bank, but I hope it will be permitted on this site. Japanese and Korean racism are almost identical in many ways; their effects end up being similar, and indeed Korea may have learned some of its racism from Japan when Japan colonized Korea in the first half of the 20th century.

    Back when I was living in Korea (as a student at Yonsei University), I visited my hometown, Fairfax, Virginia, over the winter holidays. At that point, I already had an account at Woori Bank in Korea.

    I wanted to open a bank account at Woori America Bank in Annandale, Virgina. I was hoping this would make the transfer of funds from America to my Korean account easier (it didn’t, but at the time, it seemed like it would).

    The bank employees treated me very suspiciously.

    First of all, it was a Korean-speaking bank, and I saw all other customers who spoke Korean getting replies in Korean. When I spoke Korean, they replied in English. I was also the only person in there with white skin. Coincidence?

    I’m used to that casual racism, so I just let that slide.

    However, when I tried to open the account, they were highly suspicious. A bank official came out and said (verbatim): “We need to know why you want to open this account, because you’re not Korean.”

    I was irate and more or less said: “Excuse me?! I want to open a bank account _in my own country_! I don’t have to be Korean. Even asking that question is discrimination.”

    She persisted unapologetically and unfortunately, I capitulated and told her I was a student at Yonsei and wanted the account for use with my Woori Bank account in Korea. I got the account, which ended up being absolutely horrible–it would frequently lock me out of the site for no known reason, requiring a call to customer service.

    Lesson learned:
    WHEN IN A SIMILAR SITUATION, CARRY A RECORDING DEVICE, GET PROOF, AND DON’T FEEL ANY GUILT ABOUT STARTING A LAWSUIT. In Asia, the racist almost always wins, and whether this is “as it should be” is a hotly debated question on Japan Times comment section, etc. where apologists and people who understand the UN ICERD duke it out. However, Asians who move to the US and other non-ethnostates with LAWS against racism have absolutely no right to impose their home countries’ racist policies against non-Asians. Don’t let them turn relatively racially tolerant countries into 21st century versions of Appartheid South Africa, with a privileged minority that is highly exclusive and discriminates against the majority of the population.

    Reply
    • Great “lesson learned” Charles.
      Indeed, allowing bigots to export their very own brand of racism is the very last thing we need.

      Reply
  • I am so glad I found this website and its articles.. You know being non-native english speaker and having very few friends in Japan, I kept asking myself if it was me.. if it was my fault, despite how good I tried to spoke Japanese, how correctly I behaved and how deeply I was accustomed to the social norms I always felt that awkward feeling. Despite being Italian I lived abroad great part of my life, here and there in Europe. There, I have never been really discriminated – this obviously doesn’t mean I didn’t experience racism. I never realized before coming to Japan, how racism could make you angry and how it works to build the state of subjugation. Even worse is the fact that in this country there is not ongoing discourse about racial discrimination and cultural diversification. The principles of “awase” are clear to me and I would never ask Japan to change for me, but Japan not only asked me to change in the start, when I was able enough to produce and to contribute to society it also asked me to disappear, to not exist. Reading all this material and also all this people experiences made me fell less alone. I am really thankful.

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>