More details on getting FREE MONEY in Adachi-ku

And now the latest installment of the FREE MONEY saga, which started with our translations of the MLIT announcement and the system to be employed by Adachi-ku, the city where Adamu and I maintain our abodes.

(For those of you who don’t know, Adachi-ku is a somewhat dumpy residential ward on the northeast side of Tokyo. It is the fifth most populous of the 23 wards, and has the third-highest population of resident aliens after Shinjuku and Edogawa, so you would expect them to be close to the bleeding edge of gaijin affairs.)

Although I had some objections to the size of the reply envelope, the materials to apply for the stimulus payment were very straightforward.

I scanned a copy and uploaded it here. A couple of general comments before opening the floor for discussion:

Gaijin customization

To Adachi-ku’s credit, they prepared the explanatory materials in four languages. Besides the English one-pager I scanned, the application packet contained one-page instructions in Japanese, Chinese and Korean. The guide on filling out the form is also quad-lingual.


Some commenters at Debito’s blog have noted that their city demands a copy of ID and only accepts alien registration cards for foreigners. This is pretty lame.

Adachi-ku sent all of its applications as registered mail. In order to receive the application, you have to either (a) pick it up at your residence, or (b) go to the post office and show them some ID (driver’s license, passport, whatever). For them, that level of identity verification was enough; they don’t require any further showing of ID. They do require a copy of the cash card or passbook for the recipient’s bank account, which I suppose makes slightly more sense, although I don’t see why that verification is needed in order to *receive* money.

One side effect of this is that people who didn’t update their address or other registered information on time are probably screwed. One of my co-workers, for instance, still has his alien registration at an address which he left about two years ago didn’t update his visa renewal on his gaijin card, so city hall assumes he is an overstayer. Poor sap.

17 thoughts on “More details on getting FREE MONEY in Adachi-ku”

  1. i did nt receive any application form (have been registered in Choufu-shi for the last
    2.5 years, other gaijin house mates did receive their s). which department in our city office should i direct my request to?

    (couldn t find anything in your previous posts, maybe too late anyway)

  2. One side effect of this is that people who didn’t update their address on time are probably screwed. One of my co-workers, for instance, still has his alien registration at an address which he left about two years ago. Poor sap.

    That’s too bad for him, but he should have known better—you’re required to notify your new municipality within 14 days when you move. I find it hard to believe that anyone living in Japan for long enough to have to move would be unaware of that.

  3. In Kyoto, or at least in Kyoto’s Sakyo-ku, the form did not come in registered mail, but it does require a copy of ID. Foreigners are required to send a copy of their Alien Registration Card, while Japanese nationals may use passports, driver’s licenses, or health insurance cards, and a few other things. You also need to send in either a photocopy of the ATM cash card or bank book for the account you wish the money sent to.

    I also got a form with information for foreigners in the same four languages, but there is nothing about the forms I got that indicates that I am myself a foreigner, except for having a name written in the Alphabet instead of in Japanese.

  4. @mati

    Chōfu apparently mailed out application forms on March 26. If you didn’t get one, go to your city office. You have until September 28 to apply.

  5. Off-topic, reading that two of you live in Adachi-ku reminded me of a friend who works as a pharmacist at a major hospital in the ward. I said something facile to her once about how she must get good medical treatment as one of the perks of the job. Her face turned suddenly very hard and she said, in a firm, unwavering voice, “If I ever fall suddenly ill in Adachi-ku or have an accident there, the first thing I will do is hail a taxi and beg the driver to get me out of Adachi-ku as quickly as possible before someone has the chance to take me to a hospital there”.

  6. Was it the 東部地域病院? I walked by there a couple of times during GW and remarked that “it’s good to have a ginormous hospital close to the apartment, just in case I awaken at night coughing up insects or something.” Perhaps I was mistaken.

    I have heard that the schools in Adachi-ku are pretty awful, though.

  7. Joe’s co-worker here. Just to set the record straight, it wasn’t the address that was the problem. The address printed on the front side of the gaijin card is simply the address the gaijin has at the time of the printing of the card. As most of you know, the updates to this get written by hand on the reverse of the card. This wasn’t the issue.

    The issue was that the visa information wasn’t updated. My visa was renewed in 2007 for three more years to 2010, but that information was never formally relayed to city hall (that’s one of the pitfalls of electing not to use a third party to help renew your visa). So although I’ve been to city hall at least a dozen or so times on registry-related business, no alarms have ever gone off due to the fact that my gaijin card implies I am overstaying my visa.

    So mati, if you haven’t gotten your application, something is most probably off with your gaijin registry information. I would go into your ward office with your hanko, your passport, and your gaijin card, and make sure then and there that your information is in order. I called to enquire with city hall, and although I will say that the employees I spoke with were very understanding and polite, they neglected to call me back with an answer. When I called them back two days later, I finally got the answer that my visa info was stale.

    As Aaron points out, I should have known better, but I think this snafu illustrates an interesting (read: frustrating) part of the gaijin experience. You have to keep your information updated with two different offices, that obviously do not communicate well with one another. Hell, the different offices of city hall don’t seem to have any checks in place either.

  8. I stand corrected. Sorry, Poor Sap.

    This is one reason why they should hurry up and introduce the Zairyu Cards, despite the privacy concerns that protesters raise. The current system is simply ridiculous, and any rationalization ought to be welcomed.

  9. It was* a good experience, and it helped me debunk my own conspiracy theory that gaijin were subordinate tranche holders in this whole stimulus check payout, i.e. we would only get our money if there was enough left after all the Japanese nationals got theirs.

    * should read “is”, since I haven’t rectified anything yet…

  10. @Poor Sap

    Well now I feel bad for digging into you, because that sounds like entirely a different issue from what I was assuming. I’ll have to make sure all my i’s are dotted and my t’s are crossed when I renew my visa this Summer. Thanks for the cautionary tale!

  11. It’s all good. Thanks to my own stupidity, and a little Debito, I’ve learned a lot about keeping my gaijin info in order these past few years.

    Epilogue: I took care of business this morning at city hall, and was told that I was good to go for my 12,000 yen, although they couldn’t tell me when I would get my application. Extra props for the 0 minute wait, and putting the gaijin booth as booth number 1, closest to the door.

  12. Better hurry and sign up before all the gaijins get our money and there wouldn’t be any left for us natives!

    So what are you guys going to use this anyway.My son is already demanding new Nintendo game.(Of which I instantly turned down)

  13. Poor Sap: I had a similar experience when I tried to apply for a reentry permit and was told that I had to get a new gaijin card first. You see, I was getting a reentry permit on my new student visa, which I had entered the country on. Problem was, I had left the country previously on a work visa which still had two years left on it as if I would reenter because I wasn’t yet sure what my plans were. There were zero issues getting a new visa at the consulate in NYC, they just stamped my old visa “VOID” in big red letters and gave me a fresh one, and the first ward office I went to register in told me I didn’t need to get a new ID card and updated my information on the old one. However, this turned out to be incorrect, as it was impossible to update the information in the immigration department database, which said that this particular Alien Registration Card already HAD a perfectly valid reentry permit associated with it, and would not allow a new one to be issued! The only way to solve it was to go get a fresh ID card, with a new ID number.

    “Extra props for the 0 minute wait, and putting the gaijin booth as booth number 1, closest to the door.”
    I have to assume this is to avoid confused and illiterate foreigners from wandering around the entire office looking for the correct booth. Regardless, it is very much appreciated.

    “So what are you guys going to use this anyway.”
    Well, my monthly stipend this year is slashed by 13,000 yen. It’ll almost make up for one month of that.

  14. “Well, my monthly stipend this year is slashed by 13,000 yen.”

    That the Mombusho schol getting cut? Ouch. Glad I got mine when they were probably at their historical high.

  15. Indeed. They’ve been cutting it gradually over the last few years, not due to budget cuts but so they can spread the same budget around and get more students.

  16. I just kind of pooled it in with the rest of my money. You could say I either put it toward student debt or that I spent it on this trip to the US. Either way, take that, Japanese economy!

    For me the process was totally painless, mostly bc Mrs. Adamu took care of all the paperwork for me (she also noticed the envelope screw-up). I didn’t have to go in anywhere and the money is now comfortably in my acct.

    Apparently, a lot of Americans barely felt the stimulus money in the US since it was all done through their tax returns. So in that sense it never came up as a topic for national discussion but apparently it was reflected in the consumption numbers, meaning it had the intended effect.

  17. Aren’t all the pundits complaining that now that the US savings rate has gone from 0% (or even negative) to around 5%, people aren’t spending enough money? That would be the opposite of the increased consumption the Keynesianists wanted.

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