Calling Japan from US VOIP number
January 14, 2020 5:47 AM   Subscribe

I’m trying to make a call to Japan using a VOIP phone, but just can’t get it to go through. What am I doing wrong?

Hi AskMeFi,

I’m trying to make a call to Japan using a VOIP phone, but just can’t get it to go through. The local Japanese number is:
03-xxxx-xxxx

Since I’m calling from overseas (my VOIP number is American), it was suggested that I add Japan’s country code (81) and remove the zero, which is only used when calling locally:
813-xxxx-xxxx

I’ve tried dialing this, and it won’t work.

Google says that when calling Japan, one should add the US exit code (011) before dialing the country code, which makes it:
011-813-xxxx-xxxx

This also won’t work.

As this is a VOIP number from which I’m calling, I’ve tried adding a + before each variation of the number, which is what I need to do when calling from this number in general (+1 212 xxx xxxx, etc):
+813-xxxx-xxxx
+011-813-xxxx-xxxx

Neither of these will work.

Just to cover all my bases, I’ve also tried each of these without removing the zero:
8103-xxxx-xxxx
011-8103-xxxx-xxxx
+8103-xxxx-xxxx
+011-8103-xxxx-xxxx

So to recap - these are the variations I have tried:
813-xxxx-xxxx
+813-xxxx-xxxx
011-813-xxxx-xxxx
+011-813-xxxx-xxxx
8103-xxxx-xxxx
+8103-xxxx-xxxx
011-8103-xxxx-xxxx
+011-8103-xxxx-xxxx

This is a very important phone call on which the next year or more of my life is depending, so I would love some help please.

What is the correct way to call Japan from a US VOIP phone number?

Thank you,
Hot Tea
posted by hot_tea to Travel & Transportation (7 answers total)
 
Not certain if it matters, but have you tried 081 for the country code instead of 81?

So 011-081-3-xxxx-xxxx
posted by bluecore at 5:58 AM on January 14


@bluecore
Thank you - I’ve just tried these and they also won’t work:
0813-xxxx-xxxx
+0813-xxxx-xxxx
011-0813-xxxx-xxxx
+011-0813-xxxx-xxxx
posted by hot_tea at 6:03 AM on January 14


Which VoIP provider?

Are you sure you have the right number / have you tried another number to see if you can get though - like +81 (50) 2016-1603 which is the automated number for Japan rail and answers in English (so a good sanity check you can see if it picks up says Japan Rail and then drop)
posted by inflatablekiwi at 6:05 AM on January 14


@inflatablekiwi
Thanks - the provider is Callcentric. I’ve used this same service to call numbers in Finland, New Zealand, etc with no issues.

I tried calling the Japan Rail number that you listed, and it did go through!

However, I’m using the number found on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs website (item #6 on the website below), and it isn’t going through: https://www.mofa.go.jp/j_info/visit/visa/index.html

I was heartened by the Japan Rail number working, so I tried this same format:
+81-03-xxxx-xxxx

It does not work.

The number, by the way, is 03-5501-8431 - I thought it was just a format error, but maybe the number itself is indeed not working.
posted by hot_tea at 6:16 AM on January 14


Just tried it on my mobile - ‭+81 3 5501 8431‬ - it works but answers in Japanese (which I don’t speak) but pretty sure I heard something about Visa information line. So looks like it is working - but is an automated line in Japanese (consistent with its description on that website).
posted by inflatablekiwi at 6:22 AM on January 14


@inflatablekiwi

Found the problem - thank you!
+813-5501-8431 = does not work
+813 5501 8431 = does work

#facepalm #resolved
posted by hot_tea at 6:32 AM on January 14 [8 favorites]


Cool - good luck with your Japan adventures!
posted by inflatablekiwi at 6:42 AM on January 14 [1 favorite]


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