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A short-time visitor to Japan (less than 90-day stay) will be able to use your phone there legally soon.

There was a new development in Japan in May, 2015, which will soon (within a year) allow any one going to Japan to use their own non-Japanese phone in Japan if the length of the visit is for 90 days or less.

As you have read on this blog elsewhere, the use of any cellphone without a “Giteki Mark” (approval for Japan’s technical standard, like an FCC mark in USA or a CE mark in Europe) is not currently allowed legally in Japan, though I’ve never heard anyone caught and penalized by a policeman for doing it. Japan’s government was aware that this legal policy will inconvenience visitors from around the world for 2020 Tokyo Olympic in the age of instant electronic information. So, Japanese national assembly passed the amendment to the current Radio/Telecommunication Law on May 15, 2015, to allow

– anyone who brings a non-Japanese (with no Giteki mark) cellphone or tablet to use it for less than 90 days after entering to Japan, if the device is approved by a proper overseas regulatory agency.

– and, it looks like a Gaijin-san (who doesn’t have a permanent Japanese address) may be able to purchase a

Continue reading A short-time visitor to Japan (less than 90-day stay) will be able to use your phone there legally soon.

Voice calls options in Japan, as a foreign traveler

Now that the two laws that would restrict your cellphone usage in Japan are out of our way, let’s consider your options for voice calls in Japan. The data-only SIM is a totally different subject. We will discuss it later. Here, we’re talking about the cellphone options which enable you to make voice calls and SMS text messages in Japan.

Again, due to the reason (and a Japanese law) I wrote in Two Laws regarding cellphone in Japan : No.1 “Buying” a local SIM – June 23rd, 2014 you’re not going to be able to “buy” a local SIM or cellphone service with a voice-call capability anywhere in Japan if your stay is less than 90 days there or if you don’t have a Japanese passport with a Japanese address written in it. So, don’t bother to spend time trying to find one. (Again, you can buy a data-only SIM in Japan.)

Option 1: Use the international roaming option of your own carrier in your country. Option 2: Rent the voice-call capable cellphone or SIM in Japan at the arriving airport or elsewhere. Option 3: Have your friend or colleague who lives in Japan to purchase a local prepaid

Continue reading Voice calls options in Japan, as a foreign traveler

Two Laws regarding cellphone in Japan : No.2 Requirement of Giteki Mark (Certification of Conformance to Technical Standards) under the Radio Act

This page also works as my disclaimer that I am not actively promoting to you (a foreign traveler) to use your phone or wireless-capable electronics in Japan and that you’re on your own in terms of the responsibility and risk of using your wireless-capable devices there. I wish I did not need to say this, but there’re enough number of “negative” people against this matter, so I have to say this and prepare this article in the beginning.

 

The 2nd legal problem exists in Japan which makes it difficult for you, a foreign traveler to Japan, to use your own wireless electronics devices there, such as – cellphones, – tablets, – portable WiFi routers, – MP3 devices such as iPod Touch, – laptop computers, – digital cameras with WiFi or Bluetooth connection – wireless headphones – activity trackers with WiFi or Bluetooth connection – smartwatches with WiFi or Bluetooth connection or anything that “transmits” radio signals to the air.

The current Japanese law of Radio Act requires any wireless devices used in Japan, which emits radio signals to the air, to be tested and certified as conforming to the Japanese Technical Standards of radio waves. The testing is

Continue reading Two Laws regarding cellphone in Japan : No.2 Requirement of Giteki Mark (Certification of Conformance to Technical Standards) under the Radio Act

Two Laws regarding cellphone in Japan : No.1 “Buying” a local SIM

There’re two laws regarding the use of cellphones and electronics in Japan which you need to be aware of as a foreign traveler to Japan.

The first one is the requirement for obtaining the local cellphone service (whether it is a prepaid contract or a postpaid one), or even a local telephone SIM, in Japan.

Since April 1st, 2006, the cellphone-related law called “the Act for Identification, etc. by Mobile Voice Communications Carriers of Their Subscribers, etc. and for Prevention of Improper Use of Mobile Voice Communications Services”, or in short, “Mobile Phone Improper Use Prevention Act (携帯電話不正利用防止法)” requires anyone who intends to have a voice-call-capable cellphone service (whether it is a prepaid contract or a postpaid one) to show a proper identification which indicates that s/he has the residential (permanent) address in Japan. A hotel address is not sufficient for this purpose.

This law became necessary because Japanese authorities, and especially the law makers, consider the fraud using the cellphones became a social problem, and the police and other law enforcement agencies want the address of all the phone owners to be registered so that, if any crime is committed using a cellphone, they can find the owner

Continue reading Two Laws regarding cellphone in Japan : No.1 “Buying” a local SIM

Cellular phone frequencies used in Japan

So, the first thing you need to know is if your cellphone is compatible in Japan.

First, there’s no 2G GSM cellphone company in Japan. If your phone is a simple talk-only or talk-and-text cheap feature phone, it may not work in Japan even if you’re going to use it on the international roaming plan from your own non-Japanese carrier. You need a 3G compatible phone in Japan.

There’re 3 major cellphone companies in Japan; NTT Docomo, Softbank, and KDDI au. If you’re from the United States of America visiting Japan and your phone is from AT&T or T-Mobile US, your phone will probably work on NTT Docomo (W-CDMA/UMTS 2100MHz or 850/800MHz) or Softbank (W-CDMA/UMTS 2100MHz) signals while roaming there, provided that your phone is compatible with 3G 2100MHz frequency. If you’re from the USA and your phone is from Verizon or Sprint, your phone will work on NTT Docomo (W-CDMA/UMTS 2100MHz or 850/800MHz) or Softbank (W-CDMA/UMTS 2100MHz) or KDDI au (CDMA2000 800MHz only) signals in Japan. If you’re from any other countries and your phone is a 3G W-CDMA/UMTS compatible phone, it will work with NTT Docomo or Softbank signals.

Here’s the list of cellphone frequencies used by

Continue reading Cellular phone frequencies used in Japan