SoftBank and its subsidiary Y!Mobile have also complied with the japanese Ministry of Telecommunications strong recommendation to also offer anyone the option to remove the SIM lock on second-hand devices. This comes a full six months after Docomo allowed it. AU are still lingering behind.
From now on, to request removal of the SIM lock, you no longer need to be a SoftBank/Y!Mobile customer (contract-bound) and count the days during which you are allowed to perform the unlock. Anyone can now walk into a SoftBank or Y!Mobile shop with a second-hand device they have purchased from a private seller or shop and ask the shop-assistants to disable the SIM lock.
Certain conditions apply, however. As always, SoftBank and Y!Mobile are not as generous as Docomo. Unlike Japan's largest carrier, who allows second-hand terminals to be unlocked online, in one's Docomo account (for which a contracted service is not required), they will only SIM unlock second-hand devices at their brock-and-mortar shops, and for a fee of 3000 Yen (excluding tax). Also, one person is only permitted to unlock two devices per day.
You can unlock your own device (for which you have personally signed a contract) online, from your My SoftBank or My Y!Mobile account, for free, if you have fully paid it, or if 101 days have elapsed since purchase.
Further conditions include that the device cannot be unlocked if it has been restricted from network usage, or if it is damaged or wet (the unlock will only be performed after the phone is repaired).