Oct 30, 2018

How to return wrongly addressed mail in Japan

When moving in Japan one has to think of many things. One of those things is changing the address at various places, something which becomes especially important if you have to pay bills.

One of the places people might forget to change their address is with the post office.

After having just moved to a new apartment I found myself receiving bills from places such as the pension service from the previous renter. At first, I thought it might be enough just to throw the mail away.

After a while I got worried though, that if I do not let the senders know that the previous renter does not live here anymore it might impact me in a negative way.

So, I started researching how to let the senders know that the previous person has moved out.

The easiest way to return wrongly delivered mail

1) When a wrongly addressed mail arrives at your place:

Do not throw it away. This will only result in receiving more mail from the same sender.

2) Write this on the wrongly addressed mail: 配達ミス

This means that the mail has been incorrectly delivered to you. Write it on the side of the envelope where the address is written.

3) Bring the wrongly addressed mail with 配達ミス written on it to any red post box and put it/them in the local slot.

It might also work if you insert it in the other slot but I have not tried this so I am not sure if it works as well.

How to return wrongly addressed mail in Japan photo

4) Wait for a mail man to arrive at your place.

At first I thought writing 配達ミス will only let the senders know that the original recipient has moved and the mail would simply be returned. It turned out that it actually also lets the postal service know about who is not living in this place in order for you to not receive any incorrectly addressed mail in the future.

During the next few days a postal worker will then arrive at your apartment or house -- they want to confirm that the mail was really addressed to the wrong person.

The worker then asks you to write down all the people living in your household on a piece of paper.

Alternatively, you can try bringing the mail to the post office (which might solve the problem on the spot), but mine is closed on the weekends and I wanted to avoid any waiting time so I found bringing the mail to the post box was the easier way for me.



A graduate student traveling around Japan