Japan Banks

The Japanese financial system is pretty much a traditional one and similar to those functioning in the industrial and developed nations all over the world. At the same time, it was the product of substantial and directed effort to build a stable economy. The country’s authorities established the National Deposit Insurance Plan in 1971 as a way protect depositors and prevent banking institutions from failing. At present, the body has a resource base of over $7 billion.

Historically, the banking system was characterized by a unique relationship between banking bodies and corporate businesses. Prior to the World War II, the industry was dominated by the Zaibatsu: powerful conglomerates that owned family banks and business entities whose equity was controlled by the bank. This system was abolished after the war as economic power was concentrated in an unfair manner. Up to the 1960s, corporations were heavily dependent on bank credit due to the slow growth of the debenture and bond markets. A system known as Mainbank was developed to account for these factors. Under it, each corporation could have only one bank that provided credit, functioning as its consultant and collaborator.

At present, the banking system covers commercial banks that accept deposits, offer loans to individuals and businesses, and engage in foreign exchange. Financial institutions owned by the government are also included. These government-run bodies fund different sectors of the national economy, deal with securities markets, underwrite government and corporate securities, etc.

The banks in Japan contribute to the economy of the country to a substantial extent, providing the economic foundation required for its growth. These institutions cater to regional and national banking needs, functioning at the international level as well. Financial services are provided six hours a day and five days a week, from Monday through Friday. There are a number of international banks that operate regional branches and offices in this part of the world. Some of these are the Mega International Commercial Bank, the Oversea Chinese Banking Corporation, the Union Bank of California, United Oversees Bank, Hana Financial Group, etc. Likewise, some Japanese banks such as the Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi have at least 113 branches all over the world.

Headquartered in Chuo, Tokyo, the central bank of Japan is popular as Nichigin at home but known as the Bank of Japan at the international level. Being the monetary authority of the country, the Bank of Japan is the only institution vested with the authority to lend its currency to other governments. It is also the bank that prints the currency in circulation in Japan.

The Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, Ltd is considered the largest bank in the country of the rising sun. The institution was established in the first of January, 2006, after a merger of the UFJ Bank, Ltd and the Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi. In terms of assets, it is the 9th largest bank in the world.

The major banks in Japan are the following financial institutions: Tokyo Tomin Bank, the Sakura Bank, the Iyo Bank, the Mizuho Bank, the Chubu Bank, the Aomori Bank, the Yamagata Bank, and the Higo Bank.

Online banks also operate in the country, including the Japan Net Bank, Sony Bank, eBANK, Seven Bank, AEON Bank, and Incubator Bank of Japan.

There are multiple ATM facilities across the country, but these are accessible during weekdays only (at day time). Foreigners who wish to open an account with a Japanese bank need to have an Alien Registration Card issued.

Credit card use is more limited in the country. Most people in Japan prefer to use cash for ordinary purchases and the payment of utility bills. Although credit card purchases are possible in some places, foreigners need to have cash at hand to be able to shop. Foreign credit card access is limited to post offices and international ATMs found at airports.

References: Credit Card FAQ