Changing a Google Play Account to the full-featured Japanese Play Store
Here's a detailed process that I went through before I started writing this post. It's purely for entertainment's sake.
If it gives you a screen saying your settings are not set up yet, go to https://wallet.google.com and go to add payment methods. I ended up trying to put in a US credit card, but it wouldn’t accept it because that screen only accepts debit cards.
However, even though it gave that error, simply because I had attempted to add one, I noticed some screens had changed, so I went back to the first link above.
Now it should prefill with the address and country that you tried putting in for the card, but you can edit it. So you have to edit the country to Japan, and in order to get it to stick you have to also add a Japan address. Fortunately, I have a few saved from when I lived there, so I put that in. I’m sure you could probably Google a Lawson address and it would work just fine.
At this point, I tried a bunch of things that I thought would work but didn’t. Part of the issue appears to be a particular waiting period. Keep checking back to those two websites above to see if one or the other doesn’t work. If not, then it may still be updating your address.
Anyway, continuing. Then you have to completely remove the Japanese Google account from your phone, if you have it on there.
Afterward, you have to force stop->clear data/cache for the Play Store app.
I opened Play Store without adding my account yet, accepted the notice, backed out
I added back my Japanese Google account
(not sure whether the order matters here)
Opened Google Play, switched over to my Japanese account
Sat bewildered for a couple seconds then did that process a couple more times.
I will note that this was done with an account that, when it was made, was set to Japan as its country. However, since then, the play store had reverted to the local Play Store. I no longer believe that it’s necessary to do that, but if you’re having problems, try that first.
Try going to both of these links.
The first address is the one we’ll inevitably be working with, but in order to get that one to work, I had to attempt to add a card to the second one. At which point, it then lost a few of its features, or rather, it would just redirect me to the payments address. If the first one works for you already, move on to step two.
Edit your Payments profile with a Japanese address. Just google one if you don’t have one. You do need the full address, not just the country flag.
(This step might not be required. Someone please let me know if it defaults you to the Japan play store on your computer at this point.) Now you need to VPN or proxy through to Japan on your computer’s web browser. OpenVPN works for me to do this and VPN Gate worked for the VPN. Alternatively, actually be in Japan.
Once that’s secured, open Google Play on your computer, log into your Japanese account, and navigate to any item available to purchase.
Click to “Buy” and it’ll ask you to add a payment method. Add your card here, I believe you have to make sure the zip code matches up with your address you entered before. Mine auto-filled the zip code. Remember, it does not have to match your actual billing address, in fact that would probably ruin the point.
After you’ve had it confirm the card, feel free to cancel back out. Then clear your browser cache and go back to your phone.
Force Stop the Play Store app, and then Clear Data (which should also clear cache but if it doesn’t, clear that too).
Open up the Play Store again, on that account you can now access the Japanese Play Store. Switching back and forth between Google accounts won’t be a problem.
Note: Changing your default payment method to something other than this Japanese address may bump you back to your local Play Store.
I don’t have any particular desire to find out either. It is possible to add a secondary payment method, and you are likely able to just select it manually every time you make a purchase, but I haven’t attempted that yet.