Money Transfers


I read the article for ways to transfer money out of Japan which was very helpful, thank you!

My family has a bit of a unique (maybe?) situation. My father is 81 years old and has both Sumitomo and MUFG bank accounts with money still in them. The last transactions were from 2014 (Sumitomo) and 2017 (MUFG) which were the last two times he/I was there. He no longer has Japanese citizenship (become US citizen decades ago) nor any form of Japanese identification. No Japan addresses to attribute to his name either. We still have his original passbooks showing all previous transactions and even the cash cards for both accounts but that is it.

We were hoping there was a way to transfer the money in these accounts to his US accounts without needing to travel there (age/health makes travel difficult)…which seems to be the only option the more we research (Wise or another service may still work but unsure) but was wondering if you all had any other ideas. It does sound like he needs some form of Japanese ID besides the bank account information.

Thank you for any insight you may be able to provide!

Hello Tets Toy,
You have a very unique situation and I do not think you can get around coming to Japan and or bringing your father to Japan.
The easiest solution is if the ATM cards are still good and you know the PIN, you could come to Japan and try to withdrawal at the ATM.
However, technology has changed and thus maybe new ATM cards are needed.
If you have the original hanko stamp, sometimes the copy of Hanko used is in the passbook that you have, then it is possible you could "bring some old timer* to the counter with the Hanko and try a manual withdrawal. Maybe have your father’s old passport or even the current US passport and pretend the borrowed old timer is your father.
Most JP accounts go dormant after 10 years, JP Post after 5 years. I am not sure of the Japanese specific escheat Laws.
“the reversion of property to the state, or (in feudal law) to a lord, on the owner’s dying without legal heirs.”
Even appointing a “guardian” in Japan for your father would require a trip to Japan and the Japan courts declaring you the guardian.
Below are the guardian links for each bank. You can use Google Translate.
Mitsui Sumitomo

You could pick up his personal details at the City Hall governing his last address.
I do not envy your situation and wish you the best of luck.

I really appreciate the response and helpful information! This is the most insightful info we’ve gotten through all our digging. I will start planning the trip to Japan. At least it’s an excuse to go back and have some fun!

Thank you again!

Hello Tets Toy,
Plan a nice trip around the cherry blossom season if you have never experienced it.
If you are lucky and the ATM Cards and PINs work, please note there is a daily withdrawal limit, so depending on the total amount, you may need to make daily withdrawals. Visiting a branch window, there is no limit. However they may ask for some ID and the “old timer” would have to play along well. I would avoid trying to “close the account”, but leave a few hundred yen in and then let the account close/lapse normally. Anything you can do to “draw less attention” is best… Also, please note Japan still maintains crazy “banking hours” at the tellers, i.e. 9 AM to 3 PM. And the banks are allowed to physically close for up to a week at a time for Golden Week and Year End holidays. So plan accordingly. I used and Calendar to look up the observed holidays for Japan or any country for that matter.
Best of luck!

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