Under the Foreign Exchange and Foreign Trade Act, banks are now obligated to review the transactions of “non-residents” and determine whether each transaction is to be subjected to certain restrictions under the law. For this reason, as a rule, Japan Post Bank and a handful of other banks treat certain domestic money transfers of “non-residents” as “international transfers”, despite the fact that the money is only moving from one Japanese bank account to another.
Under this law, persons, including international students, are considered “non-residents” for their first 6 months in Japan.
Please be aware that students completing bank transfers to pay for things like tuition, miscellaneous membership fees and airport usage taxes during this “non-resident” period may be subject to a 7,500 JPY “international transfer” surcharge on each transaction. (That being said, in some cases payment of tuition fees via bank transfer using the deposit request form issued by the university may be treated as a domestic transfer.)
Further, be fully aware that scholarship stipends transferred by the university into student accounts during the “non-resident” period may also be treated as “international transfers”, money deposited into student accounts may arrive several days later than expected, and stipend transfers may be subject to an “international transfer” surcharge.
Once 6 months have passed since your entry into Japan, don’t forget to visit Japan Post Bank and any other bank(s) at which you hold an account and request your status be changed from “non-resident” to “resident”. In general, banks will not automatically change your status after 6 months, so if you don’t request them to correct your status to “resident”, transfers to and from your accounts will continue to be treated as “international transfers” and subjected to delays and surcharges.
Compliance with the Foreign Exchange and Foreign Trade Act varies from bank to bank. Confirm the details and procedures involved with your bank directly.