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Financial Records & Budgeting

Not only do we want to be good stewards of the money God is entrusting us with, but it is also practically helpful to budget and keep track of our finances.

Even though it may not be easy for everyone, we encourage all Japan YWAMers to set monthly budgets and to record income and expenses. This will also be useful for filing taxes (see below).

Moving-in and Setup Costs

Along with your regular financial support, you will also need an amount of money on top of that when starting life in Japan. Here is an example of some initial costs:

  • Flight to Japan
  • Initial fees for moving into an apartment (this can cost anywhere from an extra 2 to 4 months worth of rent)
  • Furniture & appliances (and any devices such as a Japan-compatible mobile phone if you don't already have one)

These costs will vary depending on the cost of your rent and how much they require as a deposit. Some locations will have shared accommodation, meaning your set up costs would not be much. Again, please discuss this with your receiving location/ministry.

As a general guide, we recommend that you have at least two months worth of support in the bank when you arrive in Japan.

Bank Accounts

It would be useful for you to have a bank account in Japan. This is necessary to send money to others within Japan, as well as to pay some bills.

Sony Bank is a bank that has an online interface in both Japanese and English, as well as has English support. It is free to open, has low fees, and includes a Visa debit card. They also allow you to freely open accounts to store foreign currencies.

The Japan Post (JP) Bank is a popular and convenient savings account. You can open an account here. The application is in multiple languages. You fill in your details online, print off the completed form, and mail it along with copies of your ID. They will mail you a cashcard in around 2 weeks.

You may also choose to apply for a Visa debit card with this account which will make it easier to make payments for things without using cash. This can do done after you have opened a bank account. You can find out more here. (Note: they have been known to decline debit cards to foreigners..)

There are also other local banks which may be more convenient in your part of Japan. Ask other YWAMers what they use.

Tax & State Pension


It is important that all YWAMers in Japan find out rules related to filing taxes both in their sending country, as well as in Japan.

For information on filing taxes in Japan, see this page

State Pension

You will be enrolled into the state pension in Japan as is required of all residents. As monthly contributions can be fairly pricey, you will likely have the option of opting out of making contributions due to low income.

It may be worth looking into whether you would like to pay into a state pension in your sending country, either instead of or in addition to the Japanese pension.

We do recommend you pay into at least one state pension in either your home country or Japan and that you budget accordingly.

Working in Japan

If your residence in Japan is permitted based on a Religious Activities Visa, there are rules about making money in Japan.

You are permitted to earn money if the work is directly related to your religious activities. For example, if a church pays you to teach English.

If you wanted to earn supplementary income while in Japan by other means, you must apply for a specific work permit. Though this would only be for work that is still related to your missionary work in some way and does not take away your time or focus from your missionary activities.

That's the legal side! Regardless, we do recommend that all YWAMers in Japan be fully supported financially, if possible. If you would like to apply for a work permit while in Japan, please discuss this with your receiving location/ministry.