How to Search for a Person in Japan

by Curtis Seubert

The best way to search for a person in Japan is to be in Japan and post ads in newspapers, contact family members or associates of the person you are searching for and work through government agencies. If you are conducting this search from outside Japan, you should expect a very long and possibly fruitless pursuit. Personal information is not readily available in Japan. For best results, you should pursue all of the steps in your search concurrently.

Through Japanese Government

Go to a city or ward government office and submit an application for finding a person who is listed on the Jyuminkihondaichou Network system, or Juki Net, a national registry. You will be asked for the reason for this search. Your reason will have to be judged legitimate before a search can begin.

Submit the Juki Net number of the person you are searching for. The Juki Net number will be an 11-digit number. These numbers are not available online and there is no way to conduct an online search for these numbers. You can get this number only from the person’s Juki Net card.

Prepare to pursue other avenues of inquiry because your Juki Net search is unlikely to yield a result. The Juki Net system is entirely voluntary; most Japanese citizens have opted not to join the system.

Online

Visit one of the many online message boards for people searching for persons in Japan. There are many such sites. This is due to the near-impossibility of independently conducting such a search from outside Japan.

Post a request for information about the person on the message board. To help potential informers, you will need to provide as much information about your target as possible: name (in Kanji, if possible), age, sex, last known address, place of work and so on.

While waiting for information from your online message board posting, search for the person on Facebook, MySpace, Yahoo and Google. Conduct this search in English and Japanese, using names, nicknames, and email addresses whenever possible.

Putting the Word Out

Contact, if possible, anyone who knew the person you are looking for. This is, quite honestly, your best chance. Family members, friends and former co-workers will be able to provide information much more readily (at their discretion) than public officials or the Internet.

Contact the appropriate embassy or consulate. In most cases, government officials are not empowered to find a person of non-Japanese origin in Japan, but they may be able to point you in the direction of someone who can.

Place an advertisement in one of the Japanese- and English-language newspapers in Japan; all of these newspapers have online editions.

Tips

  • Do not try to find a person using his health insurance number. Health insurance is provided by city governments, so the numbers are not unique to an individual on a national basis.
  • Trying to find someone by their family register, or “koseki” listing, will require the same paper work as the Juki Net system, but is even less likely to succeed, given that this system is usually paper-based.

Items you will need

  • Person’s name in Japanese Kanji
  • Juki Net ID number

About the Author

Curtis Seubert started writing professionally in 2008. He has taught writing at universities in the USA and in Japan. Since 2000 he has lived in Japan, teaching English, writing and playing bass. He holds a Master of Arts in English literature with an interdisciplinary emphasis in quantum mechanics.

Photo Credits

  • japan hiroshima shukkeien gardens image by pdtnc from Fotolia.com