Debito.org Reader XY on “Rakuten Card is asking for sensitive Koseki Family Registry documents for Naturalized Japanese clients as a prerequisite for continued service”, even though nobody is clearly requiring them to.

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Hi Blog. Forwarding with permission from Debito.org Reader XY. Lightly redacted. The dragnet of suspecting any foreigner, including NJ Residents, of being a money launderer expands to people who are no longer foreign as well. Debito Arudou, Ph.D.
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From: XY
Subject: Rakuten Card is asking for Koseki of Naturalized Japanese clients
Date: March 4, 2024
To: “debito” <debito@debito.org>

Dr. Debito,

I’m writing you because I’m experiencing a new type of discrimination by Rakuten Card.

I’ve been a Rakuten Card owner since 2014, and it is the card I’ve hold the longest, making it the biggest chunk of my credit history.

Also, I’m a naturalized Japanese citizen, that naturalized back in 20XX, and one month afterwards I had already completed all the requirements for change of name and status according to what I was asked by Rakuten Card, which, if I remember correctly, required me to send copies of documents proving my change of name and status.

About a month ago, I received a mail by Rakuten Card asking me to send them a copy of my current Residence Card. I was very confused by this, so I contacted them, and they told me that since when I applied for the Card I was a foreigner, I needed to provide them with something that “proved” my residence status, and they asked me for my koseki, which is insane.

I told them that I already gave them the documents they required back when I naturalized, that I’ve never been asked this by any other Bank or Credit Card company, and that it is insane for them to ask me for a Koseki Family Registry, which is a very sensitive document that should be handed for these kind of requests, since something as simple as my Juminhyo Residency Certificate, which I think is what I sent back in 20XX proved my nationality, and they also have my “My Number” information, which should gave them access to corroborate this.

They insisted that this was something that the Financial Services Agency as part of an anti Money Laundering KYC thing, I asked them to give me more specifics on this, and they refused to do so, so I called the Financial Services Agency, and they told me in non ambiguous terms that they have not asked Rakuten Card to do this, that the Agency is in fact not responsible for this stuff regarding Credit Cards, and that the people responsible for all Anti Money Laundering guidelines and such are actually the Police.

I called once again Rakuten Card to confront them with this information, and in very wishy washy terms, being careful of not making any definitive statements about it, that this was part of some measured BASED on some ambiguous public request by the Financial Services Agency which they cannot give any specifics for, and that unless I provide them with my Koseki, they will terminate my contract.

I pointed out how this is obviously discrimination, as getting a card as a Japanese citizen NEVER requires you to give your Koseki, and if I wanted, I could just cancel my current account, and then open a completely new one, and there would be no requirements like these, and even though they acknowledged that I could do that, they continue to say that unless I give them my Koseki they will cancel my account, and that “this will not change no matter what”. I asked them to then reimburse me for the cost of getting my Koseki, and of course they said they couldn’t do that.

To be honest, right now I rarely use my Rakuten Card, as it has become more and more useless over the years, and I have way better cards that have never discriminated against me, so outside of the credit history, I don’t care so much about losing that card, but this is 100% without a doubt a discriminatory treatment against someone who is a Japanese citizen.

At this moment, I’m trying to get in contact with regulators to tell them about what Rakuten Card is doing to their customers, and if necessary, I’m also thinking of taking legal action against Rakuten Card if they in fact cancel my contract. – XY

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14 comments on “Debito.org Reader XY on “Rakuten Card is asking for sensitive Koseki Family Registry documents for Naturalized Japanese clients as a prerequisite for continued service”, even though nobody is clearly requiring them to.

  • Typical Japan Only Dinosaur Co. that would rather die than evolve, or even make a tiny, tiny little compromise.

    Or more correctly, creating BS work for the customer that no one ever asked for, while pretending some higher agency has asked them to do so. From an outside perspective this just seems utterly bizarre and redundant, like a Monty Python sketch on bureaucracy:
    “a Koseki Family Registry, which is a very sensitive document that should be handed for these kind of requests, since something as simple as my Juminhyo Residency Certificate, which I think is what I sent back in 20XX proved my nationality, and they also have my “My Number” information,”

    i.e. We need your info in triplicate….

    Insane. Please go out of business already, Rakuten Card and stop bothering people.

    I think you should report them to said Financial Services Agency for making Sh*t up and bringing their name into it. Fraudulent, isn’t it?

    Reply
    • Mikitani always wanted Rakuten to be Amazon, and there’s that whole chip-on-shoulder/inferiority AND superiority complex re: NJ dynamic going on.
      After all, who can remember all the hubbub about Rakuten changing its official ‘work language’ to English? I have been told by those who know, this directly resulted in bonkers weird English in the Rakuten workplace that never went anywhere near a native speaker before being shared, and meetings being held in English after participants had spent hours slaving away to form some kind of a facsimile of their intended Japanese report into ‘English’. And then when completed, unofficial duplicate meetings would take place in Japanese because none of the participants had been able to understand what any of the others had been trying to say in their mashed up attempts to present in English.
      A massively inefficient waste of time.
      But (!) it got Mikitani the results he desired at the time as the Japanese (and international) media gushed over how Rakuten was spearheading a revolution in Japanese workplace globalization etc, etc.
      Like everything; it’s all for show.
      But….
      Mikitani (who originally started out wanting to be an Rnglish teacher, so I have been told), still wants to play in the same league as Bezos and Musk.
      I reckon this is some kind of data farming thing that Rakuten is doing and they are focusing on the one demographic they have access to that the J-Law won’t lift a finger to protect.
      Maybe…
      Never underestimate how the cognitive dissonance of conflicting inferiority AND superiority complexes at the same time generate such massive anger, hatred, and spite. We can see this in the US and the UK these days.

      Reply
    • Koseki is likely to be the only document to make the relation between your previous and new name (sometimes it is possible to put it on juminhyo though). A japanese would not have to do it unless a change of name. You are on same stance.
      You cannot speak lightly about discrimination …

      Reply
      • Zig Justice says:

        Did you miss the part where the author said they provided all relevant documentation at the time they obtained Japanese citizenship? It seems like you missed that part. Maybe read the post again.

        Reply
  • Sorry, I couldn’t find the ‘price gouging tourists isn’t very omotenashi’ thread.
    Kyoto City plans to alleviate the stress for residents by launching special bus service for tourists only!
    https://japantoday.com/category/national/kyoto-may-launch-tourist-express-bus-service-to-beat-overcrowding
    And bonus is that it will only cost tourists TWICE as much as normal to use this service!
    ‘The government plans to set fares on the express buses at 500 yen for adults and 250 yen for children, about double the price of respective tickets on city buses.’

    It’s almost as if someone thought ‘Hmm, the ¥ is so cheap, those NJ tourists won’t mind being ripped-off’.
    When NJ tourists notice there’s a separate lower price for locals, Japan’s reputation is going to take a hit.
    And what’s to stop people from getting in any other busses anyway? It’s time for NJ Rosa Parks…

    Reply
      • One rule for NJs, another for “locals”? CHECK
        Indecipherable criteria and byzantine system that will inevitably devolve into visual racial profiling, i.e. you don’t look local, so you can’t get on this bus? CHECK
        Tatemae public service reason given hiding Honne cynical money grab? CHECK

        Police state style ID monitoring for petty reasons, in this case just to get on a bus?
        CHECK

        Having the J cake and eating it? i.e. We want tourist (money) but don’t want the trouble they cause, lets segregate them?
        CHECK.

        A time consuming nothing burger that will either never happen, or if it does will be so unpopular or ham fisted in its implementation it just kind of gets ignored and underused? CHECK

        And finally, the tried and tested “Let’s make part of Japan appear unique, special and hard to enter to entice gaijin into thinking its mysterious and open only to a select few” CHECK

        I think it will come about in some shape or form as it checks all the boxes of making THE RULES as petty, unfathomable and borderline racist that seem to characterize Japan…..

        Reply
        • So Kyoto City officials have been to Hawaii and liked the multi-tier pricing structure of:
          -Natives
          -Residents / Military
          -Tourists

          Reply
    • @jdg “It’s almost as if someone thought ‘Hmm, the ¥ is so cheap, those NJ tourists won’t mind being ripped-off’….
      Japan’s reputation is going to take a hit.”

      …thus negating the main point of visiting Japan these days as part of Abe’s tourism drive; it is CHEAP.

      I always thought that Japan as cheap tourist destination didn’t sit well with the conservative majority. In their narrative, Japan is unique and first world, thus is should not be cheap.

      Furthermore, in this view Gaijin should be paying a premium to experience the Four Unique Seasons and an entry fee to the Genkan of observing the mysterious culture, as recently mentioned by a Ramen shop owner.

      — We’re getting into some pretty bad (and by that I mean good) puns in this comments section…

      As Japan’s cultural mysteries are not even fully understood by even many Japanese, perhaps he was mixing up “Wabi” and “Sabi” with “Wasabi”! lol.

      Reply
  • Just let them terminate your contact then.

    I had a similar request from Mizuho bank a few years ago. They threatened to cancel my bank account unless I provided them with residence information. I called their bluff and nothing happened, because… they were the bank who gave me my housing loan to buy the place where I live!! Idiots. If they cancel my account I can’t pay them back the money I owe them. They are so dumb.

    Reply
  • I’m so cynical (but this is what it does to you)…
    Putting out his marriage news, then pics of his wife, seems like they were trying to flood the zone (as the expression goes) but timing kept getting missed coz now he’s in the spotlight;
    https://japantoday.com/category/sports/in-japan-ohtani's-'perfect-person'-image-could-take-a-hit-with-firing-of-interpreter-over-gambling
    Look, I don’t care one way or the other (although I’d love to know why his ‘interpreter’ , no matter how close, has access to $3.5 million of his dollars and he doesn’t notice this. Seems a weird set up to me.
    If the shoe was on the other foot, he’d be Ghosn in 60 seconds. Now watch Japanese media try to protect his image (and by proxy, Japan’s image, whilst US media dig to the bottom of this).
    Anyway, here’s 3 NJ, 2 of whom don’t even live in Japan anymore, who are in the papers for tax dodging (they won’t come back to pay that, and this news won’t attract elite foreigners🤣);
    https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2024/03/22/japan/foreign-soccer-players-fail-to-declare-income/

    — Yes, I noticed your “Ghosn in 60 Sections” pun.

    Reply
  • Thank you for sharing this. The global Know Your Customer financial rules seem to be applied in a whole different way in Japan.

    I had my account at the Rakuten Bank frozen in 2022 without any meaningful advance warning. That’s where I have most of my money, mind you. No access at all to my savings for about 2 weeks until I gave them what they wanted.

    My Japan Post account has the courtesy of showing warnings since years ago asking me to please verify my data. In this case I’m actually waiting on purpose to see if they will send me any form of communication or really freeze my account, but nothing yet. Much better than Rakuten.

    I’ve had my account frozen in my “home” country for not updating my info. The rules there apply for everybody. (Unlike in Japan they only blocked incoming transfers, I could withdraw money, just not from an ATM.)

    I have never heard of a Japanese (born) customer having any KYC requirements to date. All searches on the Internet only find foreign (born) customers.

    Reply
  • Jeff Smith says:

    Hi, XY.

    JACCS sent me this exact same thing. Reading that Mizuho also did this means this is widespread, and a media-worthy discrimination case: they took “foreign-sounding” names and just sent them all letters, not even considering that the ONLY people who can be allowed to QUALIFY for their services have either permanent residence (myself), or Japanese citizenship, so this makes this all the more unforgivable and repugnant.

    Take legal action: I plan to! It costs money, but having a lawyer just contact them to say: “I know what you’re trying to pull, and it’s wrong” makes a BIG difference in my opinion.

    Reply
  • Jon Heese says:

    I’ve passed on this page to an VP in Rakuten. He’s also a naturalized Japanese so will not be amused. At the very least he’ll be able to find out just why the doc is being requested. No promises.

    Reply

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