Pheww! It has been such an eventful and fulfilled period you have spent in Japan, and your goodbyes and farewell parties are coming up.
Just like when you go for an extended visit to a family/friend and you are well received, you do not leave abruptly or suddenly. You have to settle some things (aside from your ‘Thank-Yous’) before leaving the home of your host, likewise when leaving Japan.
Apart from the emotional goodbyes and the reminiscences, there are important bureaucratic and official activities you need to do before leaving this country where you have had a wonderful time.
Cancel all your utilities and services
The electricity, gas, and water bills all need to be canceled and unregistered from the public utility service providers prior to your move from Japan. Before closing the bills, make sure your payments are up to date and all outstanding charges paid.
Sorting out and shipping your items home
It entails more than getting luggage for your clothes, and you will need to sort between what you want to travel with, what you will have to ship, and what you must do away. Japan takes recycling very seriously, and you should follow the appropriate means when disposing of your unwanted personal belongings.
There are sites and places that can buy some of your possessions (useful ones actually) and give you little cash for it like your used phones, camera, washing machines, large household goods, curtains. If you want to ship a comparatively large amount of personal belongings or some large household goods, you will probably need to hire some international movers in Japan to ship them rather than sending them through Japan Post. Such overseas moving companies have services for small amount of goods so you may want to contact a few of them to get a moving quotes.
Make sure your travel documents are valid
When you finally decide to leave Japan, make sure your visa, passport, travel insurance, and other documents are valid. It will save you from needing urgent and temporary travel solutions or punitive measures. If you are not sure, check with your local immigration service.
Visit the City Hall to update them of your residence status
Just as you did when you arrived in Japan, you will also need to visit the city hall/ward but to de-register instead this time. You have to inform these custodians that you will be leaving their country; you should come with your ‘zairyu kado’(residence card) and your Hanko (official seal), and you will need to fill out the Tenshutsu Todoke (moving out forms).
Clearing out your Apartment
If you leave in a rented apartment, you will need to inform your landlord of your departure earlier than you plan to leave (usually a month). Your landlord will have to arrange for an apartment inspection and charge cleaning fees; if your apartment is in good order, you should get your deposits back.
Pension and tax refunds
Before moving out of Japan, you should get your refunds on the deposits you have been making into the Japan Pension Scheme (that’s if you have been paying). You will need your blue pension book, residence card, and other utility documents. After filling the “Application for the Lump-Sum withdrawal payment forms” you should get your money between 3-24 months.
Close all records and get your mails redirected
There might be important mails or packages addressed to your address here, you should visit the post office to redirect your mails and close other records and documents like; Tax record, bank accounts, internet and calls reg., etc.
Moving out of Japan, where you have spent a lot of time in can be very hard especially if you might never come back. If you can help it you can quit your jobs for at least 1 month leading to it. You can also use the ‘pre-travel’ days to visit places you have always wanted to, eat Japanese foods (one last time), and strengthen your relationships.
Travel and explore the world!