We Sued Suruga Bank for Bank Account Requirement Discrimination

For most legal residents in Japan, applying for a bank account is a relatively simple and straightforward process that results in the granting of a bank account by the bank. For a million of minorities in Japan, however, the process has been anything but simple if they open a bank account in Suruga Bank. Suruga Bank targeted minorities who do not have Japanese citizenship even if they were born in Japan. When applying for a bank account in Suruga Bank, minority legal residents are being subjected to arbitrary and illegal demands to furnish a litany of documents not normally required as a means of substantiating their ID confirmation. The illegal bank, in all cases, is then simply abandoning these legal residents’ applications and classifying them as “filed without action” without giving any kind of a stated reason for doing so — despite substantial evidence having been submitted proving the applicants’ ID confirmation. The bank account applications of these minority legal residents are all denied as a result, and the legal residents are left with little recourse other than to file a lawsuit to re-apply, pay yet another fee and face the very same treatment all over again.

In the face of this policy, VAIBS, Victims Against Illegal Bank SURUGA, filed a lawsuit in February, 2007, arguing that the way in which Suruga Bank is deciding whether to open a bank account to minority legal residents is a violation of both the due process and equal protection clauses of the Japanese Constitution, as well as a violation of the Personal Information Protection Act.


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