Reader AM informed us that Japan Post no longer accepts alien registration cards as valid identification.

“Even though alien registration certificates are valid until 2015, Japan Post decided effective July 9, 2012, to no longer accept such cards. Please see this website,” he writes.

“I found this out when needing to show identification for receiving a restricted delivery mail service document. I am a permanent resident. I find it odd, perhaps discriminatory, and certainly a bureaucratic overreach on the part of the postal service.”

We confirmed this with Japan Post; it’s true that they are now only accepting the new resident cards (zairyū kādo), which have replaced alien registration cards, despite the fact the latter are still valid until renewal or 2015 (whichever comes first). If you have another form of picture ID, such as a driver’s license, this should work, or a passport if your address doesn’t need to be confirmed.

‘I’m still standing’ certificates

Graham wrote in to explain genkyō todoke, which must be submitted, by Japanese and non-Japanese, every year after retirement in order to receive a Japanese pension.

“I lived and worked in Japan some years ago and when I returned to the U.K. and reached 60 years of age, I was able to receive my Japanese company pension. I was told that each year I would need to submit a ‘certificate of existence’ to the pension provider. When I revisited Japan I asked my former coworkers what a certificate of existence was, but none had a clue — perhaps I should have asked their wives.

“Eventually I learned that the certificate is merely proof that you are still alive and thus able to receive the pension. A recent utility bill from a U.K. company or receipt for local taxes paid in the U.K. seems to be satisfactory. Whilst in the U.K., it is up to the pensioner’s kin to tell the pension company if they have died so pension payments can cease, but in Japan it is up to you, each year in the month of your birth, to prove you are still alive and eligible to receive the pension.”

For more information, please see this page on the Japan Pension Service website.

Lifelines to the past

Gaetano Pace is seeking a former pen pal: “About 50 years ago, when I was a teenager, I had a pen friend from Tokyo. I lost contact with her because I went on with my studies and had to give up some of my activities. Her name was Kazuko Tamaru and she used to live at 38 of 4 Nihonzutsumi, Asakusa, Daito-ku, Tokyo.

“I have a souvenir she sent me from Japan — a Japanese man and woman made of wood, something I have kept and cherished all these years. I wonder what has become of her after so many years. I hope she is all right.”

Email Gaetano at mailtano@onvol.net if you can help.

• Brian Perrochet is hoping to find his brother, who might be living in Japan: “My brother is married (or at least was as of 2008) to a woman born in Japan but who lived with him in California until about 1982. They moved to Japan in 2008, but we lost touch with him. His name is Neal Perrochet and is married to Yae Koda. She’s in her 60s and he’s 56.”

If you know Neal’s whereabouts, please contact Brian at realbrian@aol.com.

• Rose Taman Ada-Hocog is looking for her relatives: “I’m trying to find my grandfather’s half brothers and sister who were born and have been living in Japan since the 1940s or 1950s. Their names are Nakamura, Nobua and Keiko, all with the surname Jim or Jimu. I would like to also find their children, grandchildren or great-grandchildren.”

Please email Rose at rose.tadahocog@gmail.com if you know anything.

• Also searching for a pen pal, Gurmit Singh writes: “My wife and I went to Japan a few months ago to meet a friend. That was my first visit and I loved every minute of it.

“As such, I thought this would be the opportunity to look up a pen pal of mine from when I was in secondary school in 1963: Kumiko Yokoyama. Kumiko first lived at 2997 Katayama Fujigaoka, Suita City, Osaka. Then she moved to 8-10, Fujigaoka-cho, Suita City, Osaka. It would be nice to get in touch with Kumiko and, if possible, meet up. Gurmit can be reached at gurmitpreet@gmail.com.

Ashley Thompson writes unique how-tos about living in Japan at www.survivingnjapan.com. Send all your questions to lifelines@japantimes.co.jp.

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