My Number in Japan: What it is and how to get one

Yumiko Kijima

If you’re living, studying or working in Japan you’ll need to know your individual number, which is known as My Number. This 12 digit code is used when you pay taxes, apply for benefits or social security support, send money overseas, and in the event you’re caught up in any sort of disaster in Japan.

This guide covers all you need to know about the My Number system and the My Number Card in Japan. To help you cut the costs of living abroad, we’ll also highlight how low cost international transfers from Wise can save you time, money and stress. Let’s dive right in.

My Number and My Number Card in Japan

The My Number system in Japan is used to verify and confirm your identity when dealing with government bureaus and institutions. You’ll need it when you arrange your workplace taxes, if you visit a government office, or when you send money internationally.¹

To apply for a My Number in Japan, foreigners must have resident status - you’ll get your My Number at the time you apply for your first residence certificate. Here are some quick facts and features of the My Number system.

  • Get your 12 digit My Number when you apply for a residence certificate
  • You’ll keep the same My Number all your life, even if you leave Japan and return later
  • Do not disclose your My Number to anyone without checking their identity and the reason they need your personal data
  • Switch your My Number paper certificate for a plastic identity card which has increased functionality

What are the benefits of having My Number?

You’ll be issued with a My Number when you apply for a residence certificate in Japan. You can then also apply to switch your paper certificate to a plastic identity card - the My Number Card - which has enhanced features. Here are some of the ways you’ll use your My Number and My Number Card:²

  • My Number is used to link and verify personal information held by official and government bodies
  • The My Number system cuts down the amount of bureaucracy required when filing tax and making social security applications
  • My Number is used in disaster relief efforts across Japan
  • You’ll need your My Number to send some international remittances
  • My Number Cards can often be used as formal identification documents
  • Plastic My Number Cards have a chip installed which can be used for digital certificates

It’s worth noting that the My Number notification card - which is a paper certificate - does not expire. However, the plastic My Number Card does have an expiration date, and will need to be reissued after expiry.

How to apply for My Number and My Number card

Any resident in Japan will be issued a My Number at the same time as they get their residence certificate. Here’s what will happen:

  • 2 to 3 weeks after registering for residence, you’ll receive a letter which contains your Japan My Number notification paper
  • At the same time you’ll receive an application form for a plastic My Number Card
  • Complete the My Number Card application if you want to use the plastic card instead of the paper certificate
  • Collect your My Number Card from your local municipality office when it’s ready³

Note: In case ‘expiration date of the period of stay’ is close (about 1 month away), you should not use the application form. Instead, after renewing your period of stay at the Immigration Office, you should get a new form at a municipal office to apply for a My Number card.

To learn more about how to get your My Number in Japan, check out the resources online on the Japanese Cabinet Office website (in Japanese)².

My Number FAQ

How long does it take to get a My Number Card in Japan?

2 to 3 weeks after registering for your residence certificate you’ll receive a paper My Number notification. This contains your 12 digit number and an application form for a plastic My Number Card if you’d rather switch.

How do I change my Japanese card number?

You can not change your My Number code. The same 12 digit number will be used to identify you throughout your life. The only exception is if your number has been stolen and used fraudulently. If you think this is the case, report it to the police and your local municipal office in the first instance.

What if I lost My Number card?

Report a lost or stolen card to any police station or your local municipality office. You can also call for support in a range of languages, on 0120-0178-27.

Manage your money internationally: Wise account

If you’re an expat in Japan you’ll know how important it is to be able to manage your money easily and cheaply across different currencies. With Wise you can send, spend and hold dozens of currencies, and manage your money on the go using a simple app. Check out these smart features:

wise-mobile-send-money-jp

  • Hold 56 currencies in 1 free to open account
  • Send money abroad with the mid-market exchange rate and low, transparent fees, up to 14x cheaper than Japanese banks
  • Receive money into your Wise account for free in 10 currencies including USD, EUR, GBP and AUD
  • Spend with your Wise debit card, with the mid-market exchange rate and low conversion fees
  • Support is available in English, Japanese, Portuguese and many more languages, too

Wise moves more than 5 billion GBP a month and helps millions of people all over the world cut the costs of living, studying and working internationally.


You’ll need to use your My Number from time to time once you become a resident in Japan. From filing your taxes to sending money abroad, your My Number code can help to verify your identity and details, and cuts down the amount of paperwork and administration required. Keep your My Number and My Number Card safe and be sure to report it if your card or certificate are ever lost or stolen.

wise-multi-currency-account-consumer-jp


Sources
  1. For Foreign Nationals About the My Number System
  2. マイナンバー制度について : マイナンバー(社会保障・税番号制度)
  3. My Number | Tokyo Intercultural Portal Site

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This publication is provided for general information purposes and does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from Wise Payments Limited or its subsidiaries and its affiliates, and it is not intended as a substitute for obtaining advice from a financial advisor or any other professional.

We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether expressed or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.

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