Shibuya Ward Office – one of my stops on my recent trip.


It wasn’t all vacation – some of it was work.

I had been a victim of a misdemeanor crime over a year ago, when someone pretended to be me and called the Shibuya Ward Office to see whether I had ever enrolled in Japanese health insurance, and, if so, if there was a balance.

Stateside, last fall, I contacted some parties who I thought might be helpful in asking the individual who was spreading this rumor to cease. I got an assurance that they would monitor the situation.

But I still wanted to make sure the matter was as I understood it (fully enrolled, no balance due). So I took a day of vacation to go down and find out, and to see what could be done on the Japan side to make sure this sort of thing is noted by authorities.

The people in the ward office were as helpful as I remember from my Japan days. They were shocked at what they translated as “harassment”, which, yes, is criminal behavior in Japan.

It’s hard to see what can be done other than a formal complaint—since this sort of thing appears to be something Japan doesn’t have the resources to tackle. Any foreigner with ill intent can probably call up and say they are some other foreigner. How do you prove it? No Japanese in their right mind would be out doing this type thing, but as I’ve said, foreigners often create their own shades of gray when it comes to honoring Japanese laws.

I doubt anything concrete will come of what I was able to do, but I still feel a sense of satisfaction doing my part.