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Determining The Meigi-nin

Q. I'm informed that to get ADSL installed on an NTT line or to have existing regular phone service converted to Hikari Denwa, I need the phone line's "meigi-nin." What is it, why do I need it and how do I get it?

A. The meigi-nin is the name of the owner or contracting party for the phone line. It is used by the installers to double-check that the installation is being done on the correct number. If the name and the number match, then the service request is performed. If not, it is assumed that something is amiss (e.g., a typo in the phone number) and the request is rejected.

Following is more info about the meigi-nin and instructions you may use to verify your phone line's meigi-nin.

Two Names on Every Phone Line

First of all, it is important to understand that there are two names, or meigi-nin, associated with every phone line. One is the "Billing Name" (請求書名義人) and the other is the "Contracting Party" (契約者名義人).

Typically, the names are the same but they do not have to be the same and, in the case of employees residing in employer-provided housing, the two names are usually not the same.

Employer-Arranged Telephone Service

It is quite common for employers to arrange phone service for apartments they provide to their workers and in almost all cases they ask NTT to put their employee's name on the bills to give the employee a sense of responsibility for the payment of the bills.

However, the name on the bill is not what we need. The company is still the 'contracting party' for the phone service and it is that name that must be provided with the ADSL application.

The Phone Bill Name is Not What is Needed

Please be clear on these points:

  1. It is the Contracting Party meigi-nin that is needed.
  2. The name on the bill is not always the contracting party. It might just be the user of the phone service.
  3. The only way to know the correct meigi-nin name--for sure--is to ask NTT.

Who is Your Phone Line's Contracting-party?

  • If you personally purchased and/or arranged the phone line and provided ID documents to NTT, then you are the Contracting Party.

  • If your phone service was provided, arranged, or set up by your employer, or other person or the phone line is included with an employer-provided apartment, then the Contracting Party might be you but it is most likely the in name of your employer.

Your Employer might Confuse the Issue

If you ask your employer for the name under which the line is registered, even when it's in their name they will probably say "It's in your name." There are two reasons they might say that:

  1. The most likely reason is that they think it's true because they recently called NTT and asked them to put the bill in your name." They incorrectly assume that that is the required name.
  2. Or, they might not want to admit that it's in their name because the reason for putting the bill in your name was to make you feel responsible for paying it.

Transfering Names on Phone Lines

You may have been informed that the phone line was transferred to your name. This may be true, but the question is which name, the billing name or the contracting party?

You might be able to determine which name was changed by the process involved:

Changing the Billing Name–Easy to do, no ID

This can be done on either "owned" or "rented" lines. Changing the billing name is less complicated. Sometimes it can be done over the phone but usually the owner of the line just enters the desired billing name on a form and faxes it to NTT.

Changing the name of the Contracting Party–Need ID and usually cash payment

This can only be done on so-called "owned" lines. NTT has a special yellow form for changing the name of the owner (contracting party). This form requires the name, address and signature (or seal) of both the seller and the buyer. Yes, "buyer" because there is usually a cash payment for the purchase of the "line." Recently the cost has been about ¥10,000.

Picture IDs for both the seller and buyer must be attached and the form is must be either mailed or taken in person to an NTT office.

Necessity of Calling NTT to Verify the Name

If your employer says it's in your name, then the next step is for you to call NTT yourself to verify that. If NTT denies that it is you, then you can ask if it's a Japanese or company name and take that info back to your employer.

Meigi-nin Verification Instructions

You may verify your phone line's meigi-nin by calling NTT toll-free from mobile or landline phones in English, Spanish, Portuguese, Korean or Chinese. Hours are Mon-Fri, 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM The interpreter will call the NTT operator and translate for you.

  • Eastern Japan: 0120-565-950
  • Western Japan (Shizoka and to the west): 0120-064-337

The English line sometimes has a long wait. The best time to call is right at 9:00 AM when the line won't be too long.

NTT expects you to call from the number being checked but if that impossible, you can try from work or a mobile phone. Sometimes they will allow that (but no guarantee).

Points to keep in mind:

  1. First of all, let's pronunce it correctly when calling. The "gi" in "Meigi" is not the same as the "gi" in "gin." Instead, it's the soft "g" of "give" with "e" of "equal" making it rhyme with "key." Pronounce it like this: "may-geeh-neen" Remembering that the "geeh" rhymes with "key."

  2. If you're calling the English line, once you are connected the English-speaking operator will call the 116 operator and translate for you.

  3. NTT expects the meigi-nin him or herself to make the call.

  4. NTT also expects to be called from the phone number being checked as they verify the caller's identity that way. If that is impossible, you can try from another phone, but they may refuse if your reason isn't convincing. The best excuse is probably that you work 9-5 everyday. If the operator refuses, hang up and try again--there's a good chance that you'll get a more understanding operator the next time.

  5. NTT will not tell you the name. You have to tell them what you think it is and then they will confirm it as correct or not.

  6. If your guess is not correct, try changing the order of names, or leaving out the middle name, etc., until you hit on the right version. Some operators are more helpful than others and will give you hints if you are close or tell you if it's something completely different. If you get an operator who refuses to help or give any hint, try calling back and talking to a different operator.

  7. IMPORTANT: In the case of foreign names, you should also verify whether the name is registered in roman letters (a-b-c, etc.) or katakana and then verify each character carefully.

    If they have the spelling wrong, do NOT ask them to correct it in their records
    as that will just delay your application. Instead just provide us with the incorrect spelling. Be sure to tell us, however, that it's registered incorrectly or we will have to ask you about the discrepency. If you wish, you may contact them after the connection is completed and ask for correction.

  8. If NTT says the name is not you, ask them if it's a Japanese or foreign name. If it's foreign, it may be the name of a predecessor in your job. Note: the NTT operator may balk at telling you this and, in fact, they don't have to tell you. But if you explain that it's a line that is supplied by your employer (assuming that's the case) and that if it is Japanese, you'll have your company call, the operator may relent and give you a hint.

  9. If NTT says the name is Japanese, ask your supervisor (or whoever the owner may be) to make the call. In such cases it's not necessary to call from the number being checked as long as the phone line from which the call is being made has the same meigi-nin.

More info:

Worksheet with the specific questions you should ask NTT.

Hope this helps!

Jimmie

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