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Pensions in Japan

Japan With Kids - Forums: General Discussions: Finances: Banking, Insurance, Taxes, etc.: Pensions in Japan
By Karen on Thursday, February 7, 2002 - 1:03 pm:

Just looked this up in a book called "Living in Tokyo" that is issued by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government. I was surprised! I'll just copy it out:

"Like the medical treatment insurance system, Japan also has a pension system. Every citizen must enroll in the pension system... The National Pension Plan covers all people between the ages of 20 and 59 living in Japan (including students)... Foreigners living in Japan must also subscribe to this plan.

Enroll at the National Pension Section of your local ward or municipal office. The monthly premium is Y13300 with additional insurance costing Y400.

Pensions can be transferred outside Japan if the subscriber is living in another country. To receive a pension upon becoming elderly, a subscriber must have paid into the plan for 25 years or more. Foreigners who begin living in Japan in their middle or old age may not be able to fulfill the prescribed pension enrollment period. For this reason, measures have been adopted to enable foreigners living in Japan in their old age to receive a pension. For example, in the case of foreigners who have been granted permanent residence, the number of years spent outside Japan is counted as part of the period of pension payments.

Lump-sum Reimbursement for Short-Term Foreign Residents who withdraw from the Pension Plan:
If a foreigner pays premiums for the NPP as a Category One Subscriber for at least six months and returns to their home country without receiving a pension, a lump-sum reimbursement will be made if a claim is filed within two years of the date of leaving Japan.

Employees' Pension Insurance
Like the Employee's Health Insurance Plan, Employees Pension Insurance is designed for salaried workers who are employed full time in recognized companies. All company employees under 65 years of age are obliged to pay EPI premiums , regardless of nationality, sex or individual will.

The monthly premiums for employees, which is determined on the basis of income, is calculated by multiplying the subscriber's standard monthly income by a designated ratio. The subscriber and employer each pay half of this premium.

Subscribers are entitled to received a basic pension for employees, a basic pension for the disable and one for the bereaved. These pensions can also be transferred outside Japan is the subscriber is living in another country.

Lump Sum Reimbursement for Short-Term Foreign Residents who withdraw from the pension plan --
If a foreigner pays premiums for Employees' Pension Insurance for at least six months and returns to their home country without receiving a pension, a lump-sum reimbursement will be made if a claim is filed within two years of the date of leaving Japan. Lump Sum Amount. Average monthly income x a designated ratio (ranging from 0.5 to 3.0) depending on the length of time that the subscriber paid pension premiums."

NOTE: Outline of Health Insurance, National Health Insurance, National Pension and Employees' Pension Insurance System (in English, Chinese and Korean) is available at Ward or municipal government offices and Social Insurance Offices.

By Admin on Tuesday, February 4, 2003 - 9:05 pm:

Taken from the January 21, 2003 Japan Times Lifelines column regarding pension refunds when departing Japan.
Cash refunds
Dear Lifelines; Re. pension repayments (Lifelines: Jan. 14), actually, the refund of up to 600,000 yen is not entirely valid. I worked in Japan for three years as a JET, contributed three years into the national pension system (kokumin nenkin) as a public servant, and was refunded the maximum three months' average salary (one month for every year worked). This totaled about 1,000,000 yen (taxed at 20 percent, but that was refunded later aswell.) That is at least how the kokumin nenkin system worked.

The private company pension system (used in addition to the national, called kosei nenkin) might work differently.

There is something called a nenkin techo (pension handbook) that is usually orange or green, and lists all the contributions to the pension scheme made. (At least for kokumin nenkin.) This determines future payment.

Also on the pension topic, a TV show I watched on the topic last Saturday mentioned that if even one month of payment is missing from the 25-year mandatory payment total, no payment will be disbursed.

Your advice for the fellow to go down and talk to the pension representatives is absolutely right: they determine everything, and usually pretty quickly. -- Wendy

By Rich Brown on Wednesday, November 12, 2003 - 4:47 pm:

Need help with your "lump sum payment"? Check out my site.

I also will help with getting back the taxes taken out.

If you know someone who has left Japan and would need my help I would appreciate the referral.

By Sandy Cox on Monday, January 19, 2004 - 1:51 pm:

Dear Rich,
I think this "lump sum payment" topic here might refer to the refund of Pension contributions?

If I got it right, then maybe it belongs below in the pension discussion I think, at

Anyway, are you also able to help someone who has already left the country and did not get around to organizing this in advance?

Just to be clear as to why I am confused, on your website you talk about a National Health Insurance refund in one place but in another place you wrote the word pension...

By Pat Sin on Thursday, January 6, 2005 - 6:47 am:

I worked in Japan from 1995-1998. Is there anyway I can claim refund of my contribution towards Employee Pension Scheme. Any advice/suggestions will be highly appreciated.

By Admin on Thursday, March 9, 2006 - 11:43 pm:

A new strategy regarding Japanese pension for US citizens due to Totalization agreement of February 2004 between USA and Japan.

By Andrew J. Hazelton on Monday, March 13, 2006 - 12:08 pm:

Is there anyone out there with experience buying life insurance, disability insurance, and supplemental health insurance in Japan?

In the US it is common for life insurance and long-term disability insurance to be provided by the company, but for Japanese local hires, this is not the case. When I compare the premiums versus simple term life insurance in the US, I find the Japanese insurance is 3 to 4 times more expensive.

I realize the Japanese insurance covers more than life (death?), but not sure whether it is worth it or not.

If anyone has useful advice for me, or knows of any simple books or websites (Japanese OK) explaining the JAPANESE insurance system, I would appreciate it.

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