Japan's government has asked the country's mobile phone carriers to simplify contract procedures for foreigners. The move comes as Japan prepares to take in more foreign workers next month.
The Internal Affairs and Communications Ministry made the request on Wednesday to four groups of mobile carriers and dealerships.
The ministry wants foreigners who are staying for a short period and do not have a residence card to be able to use their microchip-installed passport as proof of identity. It also wants them to be able to pay phone fees in advance.
Most dealerships now only provide services in Japanese.
The ministry is therefore asking them to make foreign-language versions of contract-related documents and offer translation services via videophones.
Some foreigners may want to make payments from their bank accounts. But to open an account, they must have a phone number.
The ministry has asked the Japanese Bankers Association to enable mobile subscribers to open an account before they have a phone number.
State Minister Yukari Sato told reporters her ministry hopes to offer foreign visitors to Japan trouble-free mobile phone services in the run-up to the Rugby World Cup and the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics.