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:

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:

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:

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):

Neither of these will work.

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

So to recap - these are the variations I have tried:

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

Thank you - I’ve just tried these and they also won’t work:
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

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:

I was heartened by the Japan Rail number working, so I tried this same format:

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


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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