Japan hoping to get more foreign credit card-friendly ATMs

by Atsushi Kodera

Staff Writer

Under the campaign to help tourists ahead of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, the government plans to step up pressure on banks and convenience stores to update their ATMs so it’s easier to withdraw cash with a foreign credit card.

In response to complaints from foreign travelers about the lack of ATMs that will accept foreign-issued cards, the Japan Tourism Agency has called on major banks to take action as part of the government’s effort to increase the number foreign travelers here to 20 million over the next six years.

The government will renew its call on both major commercial banks and regional banks, as well as convenience stores, to follow in the footsteps of Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ Ltd., Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp. and Mizuho Bank Ltd., which expressed their intention to comply with the government call in December.

The government wants to make cash withdrawals available at more regional banks and convenience stores because many popular foreign tourist destinations are located outside major urban areas, an official said.

Currently, only a small number of banks, including Japan Post Bank and Seven Bank Ltd., have ATMs capable of this service, according to a Tourism Agency official.

Figures from the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry show that only 24 percent of Japan’s ATMs were capable of issuing yen in cash to foreign-issued cards as of last September.

  • Jay

    Bout time.

  • MM

    Ditto. About time. Now how about forcing banks to allow people living in Japan to use their prefectural bank’s card outside their home prefecture? This sort of ability has been available in the West for decades. If you can easily furikomi money from your hometown to any bank account in Japan, surely you should be able to access your money from anywhere, including abroad.

    Next up, 24 hour ATMs and 24 hour Internet banking, please.

  • Jamie Bakeridge

    As the other commenters have noted this is long overdue and a welcome development. But it does exemplify the problem and weakness with modern Japan that it has taken so long (and the award of an Olympics) to rectify. Why is it that all other developed countries have systems that allow this but Japan not only does not, but does not even see this as something that was necessary until the Olympics came along. Too often the “this is Japan” “Japan is special” “Japan is unique” argument is used to justify stupidity and mindless insularism.