The Mobile Suica, Mobile PASMO and Mobile ICOCA user agreements state that the card can be ‘locked’ if not used for set period of time “as determined by the company.” Although the period of time is not stated this means that if you do not use Apple Pay Suica • PASMO • ICOCA for 6 months it locks and cannot be used for shopping and transit until you reactivate it.
This is inconvenient for occasional inbound visitors to Japan who might not know about the 6 month Suica lockout and try to use it. Fortunately there is a very easy way to reactivate it: recharge the card balance with Apple Pay, any small amount will do.
You can also reactivate the card at any station. Ask a station agent to unlock your Suica • PASMO • ICOCA and place your device on the station window reader. From the Apple Using Suica • PASMO • ICOCA page:
You might need to have a station agent service your Suica • PASMO • ICOCA card in Apple Pay. If you do, put your device into Service Mode before you hand it to the station agent:
On your iPhone, open Wallet, tap info icon, then open Service Mode.
For your Apple Watch, remove it from your wrist, enter the passcode to unlock it, and double-click the side button. Then, select your Suica card, firmly press the screen, tap Service Mode, and ask the station agent to hold your Watch with the display facing down.
These days you do not have to put the device in Service Mode, just hand it to the station agent and they’ll reactivate your Suica • PASMO • ICOCA.