It has been over two months since a 特別定額給付金 (tokubetsu teigaku kyūfukin, special cash payment) was approved by the government and as of June 15 more than 90 percent of municipalities across Japan have started making payments.
The big question here is: Is your application still sitting on your kitchen table? ギリギリまで待たないで (Giri-giri made matanai de, Don’t leave it till the last minute)!
The application process is simple. All you need to do is fill out the form and send it back, along with the necessary documents, to your municipality — unless you would prefer to do it online or apply in person.
Having said that, the format is 日本語のみ (Nihongo nomi, in Japanese only) and it asks that “申請者は日本語で申請書の内容を記載して下さい” (shinseisha wa Nihongo de shinseisho no naiyō o kisai shite kudasai), meaning “applicants, please fill out the contents of the document in Japanese.” The trickiest thing here is that administrative documents in Japan are often full of お役所言葉 (o-yakusho kotoba, bureaucratic jargon) that may be challenging for people who don’t speak Japanese to understand.
While the applications may differ slightly according to area, there are generally three sections that you’ll need to fill out. The first is information pertaining to the 世帯主 (setainushi, head of household). The name and address should be pre-printed, so check there are no errors and fill in any blank columns such as 電話番号 (denwa bangō, phone number), 申請日 (shinseibi, date of application) and 生年月日 (seinengappi, date of birth). There’ll be a spot asking something along the lines of “署名(又は記名押印)” (shomei [mata wa kimei ouin]). Both 署名 (shomei) and 記名押印 (kimei ouin) mean “signature,” but 署名 indicates a handwritten one while 記名押印 refers to the use of a 判子 (hanko), a wooden seal the Japanese use to stamp their documents. Choose the option that suits you and sign or stamp.
The next section is for 給付対象者 (kyūfu taishōsha, those eligible to receive the payment). Here, the names of yourself and your family members should be printed. Next to your 氏名 (shimei, name), 続柄 (zokugara, relationship [to the head of household]) and 生年月日, is a box — the trickiest box on the entire document. If you check it, you won’t get your money.
The explanation for this dastardly box reads: 給付金の受給を希望されない方はチェック欄にX印をご記入ください (Kyūfukin no jukyū o kibō sarenai kata wa chekkuran ni X-jirushi o go-kinyū kudasai, Those who do not wish to receive the payment, please enter “X” in the box.) The confusing thing is that “X” can be interpreted as meaning “yes” outside of Japan, but here it is being interpreted as a strict “no,” which means you are telling them you don’t want the money.
The 受取方法 (uketori hōhō, method of receipt) section is likely printed at the bottom of your form. This is where you need to enter your bank account details, and that includes 金融機関名 (kin’yū kikanmei, the name of your financial institution), 支店名 (shitenmei, branch name), 支店コード (shiten kōdo, branch code), 口座番号 (kōza bangō, account number) and 口座名義 (kōza meigi, account name). Seven institutions are listed on the frame of 金融機関名, so if you have an account at MUFG for instance, you would write 三菱UFJ (mitsubishi yū efu jē) and circle “銀行” (ginkō, bank). For 口座番号, this requires 右づめ (migi-zume, aligning to the right), so make sure the last digit is in the right-hand column. The 分類 (bunrui) or 貯金種別 (chokin shubetsu) concerns bank account type, so circle either 普通 (futsū, savings account) or 当座 (tōza, current account).
For those who have an account at ゆうちょ銀行 (yūcho ginkō, Japan Post Bank), write your 通帳記号 (tsūchō kigō, passbook code) and your 通帳番号 (tsūchō bangō, passbook number) on the second slot.
Once you have completed the form, you then need to prepare two kinds of documents: a photocopy of your 在留カード (zairyū kādo, residence card), 運転免許証 (unten menkyoshō, driver’s license), マイナンバーカード (mai nanbā kādo, Individual Number Card [My Number Card]) or 健康保険証 (kenkō hokenshō, health insurance card) so as to confirm your identity, and a copy of your 通帳 (tsūchō, bank passbook) or キャッシュカード (kyasshu kādo, ATM card).
These documents should either be pasted on the back of the form or enclosed in the 返信用封筒 (henshin’yō fūtō, self-addressed stamped envelope).
After you’ve mailed the documents, all you can do is to wait for the payment to come in. Maybe pass the time by thinking about how you’ll spend your 十万円 (jū-man en, ¥100,000). Will you spend it on 国内旅行 (kokunai ryokō, domestic travel), put it in your 貯金 (chokin, savings) or opt for a 寄付 (kifu, donation) to a local charity? Money doesn’t grow on trees, so think about it carefully.