I was told recently that in order to be able to borrow money from a bank to buy my appartment i had to have a "hanko" registered.

So i went to my city ward with my "gaijin card" and asked at the foreign resident counter to have my brand new seal registered.

I was given 3 forms to fill out with my name, adress and date of birth. They checked the conformity of my seal, as well as the correct writing in katakana of my name (my shakai Hoken card proved very helpful at this time), and give me 3 form to fill out. My name had to be in katakanas on all forms, the rest could be in roman characters.

They also checked if i had paid my local taxes.

Then they processed the registration, indicated on the back side of my Foreign registration card my name in katakana.

I received a registration certificate and a registration card. The card is to be used to obtain more copies of my registration certificate. I took 20 minutes and cost me 200 yens.

moneyYesterday I went to the local tax office and filed the final income tax return for my husband. I brought his certificate of income and withholding tax: "源泉徴収票 げんせんちょうしゅうひょう", our family seal, 印鑑 いんかん, and a certificate of life insurance payment, 生命保険料控除証明書 せいめいほけんりょうこうじょしょうめいしょ, issued by a life insurance company. If you belong to a private life insurance program, you can get deduction for life insurance premium from your tax payment. This time I got ¥4500 back. On filing the final income tax return, your local tax amount will be calculated automatically and the tax office will send you a bill in June. You can choose to pay at a post office or bank or ask them to charge directly to your bank account.

If you would like to know if you would have tax return or not, visit National Tax Agency web site. But they only have Japanese version.

At local tax office or your Ward office, you will find help to fill out your paper. In my case, I brought 3 items and an officer entered the necessary data for me. Then he brought a paper and asked me to write down my address, my husband name and other very simple things. I waited in a line about 30 minutes and actual procedure took 5 minutes only. If you expect to get some money back, it is better to bring your bank book. I did file the stuff for my husband and he has a right to get this money. So I needed to have my husband bank account info but I didn't. They game me a phone number to call and tell them about his account info.

To know more about taxes in general, visit National Tax Agency Web site English version

Osaka Information Service for Foreign Residents(OIS)

1. Information Inquiry
Information is available in a wide range of areas including daily life, visa status,housing,labor problems,medical services and welfare programs.

2. Languages Spoken
Japanese, English, Chinese, Korean, Spanish, Portuguese, Thai, Philipino

3. Coordinating Office
International Affairs Division

4. Location

General Counseling Center:
1F Osaka Prefectural Government Main Building,Otemae 2-chome,
Chuo-ku, Osaka City

Direct Line:
TEL: 06-6941-2297
FAX: 06-6944-4073

For Inquiries:
Office Hours: Mon-Fri 9:00-17:30

Not so new but definetly usefull for those looking for acurate legal infos. The Japan Information Network. No light reading.