Japan making expats live up to the letter of a rule

Japan Times column by Jenny Uechi

Starting in April 2010, Japan will require visa renewers to provide evidence that they have been paying into the country’s pension and health insurance programs.

Up to now, apparently, people who renew their visas in this country have been able to skirt the rules about social insurance programs. I myself, as a goody-goody, have always paid up. (Or at least kept the small arrearage within the rule!)

I blogged about this two or three years ago. Japan has a program of social insurance called “Kokumin Nenkin” (National Insurance). There is another program for salaried employees that runs parallel, but I’ll leave that out for simplicity.

Kokumin Nenkin got underway sometime in the 1960’s or ’70’s to provide a basic level of pension to retired people, in exchange for monthly premium payments.

The idea is you pay 480 installments between the age of 20 and the age of 60. Then, at age 65, the government here will send you a check of about $600 or $700 (US Dollar equivalent, you are getting the check in yen.)

Now the difference from U.S. social security is that this program is set up like an installment plan on an annuity from an insurance company. With those, you either make a lump sum payment or you pay in installments, for a “deferred annuity”. The insurance company promises to pay you back (usually for life, but also can be a term of years, like 10 years or 20 years).

Right now, the payment is 14,660 yen a month. (Let’s treat 100 yen as a dollar for convenience: it’s $146.60 about.) The proportionate share of that future pension check is currently estimated at about 138 yen ($1.38 USD). So, you see, you put 480 of these together, you get about $660.

Now, Japan has not been very good about making sure that everyone pays up on this. (Even or maybe especially for its own citizens!) And what happens is that some younger people look for any way to evade paying in, and the government really does nothing about it.

For older people, they are more likely to put in. As Samuel Johnson, I believe it was, said: “when a man knows he is about to be hanged in a fortnight (14 days), it concentrates his mind wonderfully.” The same goes when the time to retirement is actually something that one can feel and measure in their own life’s experience. A 50-year-old can “feel” 15 years in a more accurate way than a 20-year-old.

What has been going on in the expat community, is that any number of foreigners here simply avoid paying in to the National Pension. Even though Japan will refund up to 36 months of contributions, on a schedule, for whoever leaves Japan. (Imagine ever getting part of your social security money back if you ask for it!!)

So the foreigners in Japan, they don’t sign up. No one chases them. Even though all residents are required to be in.

Now is this good or bad? It’s going to depend on your political philosophies, your concept of law and what kind of world you want to live in. The rule is: all residents pay in. In America, if you are a wage earner, you are going to have the 6.2% old age and 1.45% Medicare premiums withheld. Or your employer is going to run a big risk. [Update 5/12/12: This is 5.3% old age, 0.9% disability, and 1.45% Medicare.]

In a country that has it set up like it’s a private company’s deferred annuity, I don’t see the difference. If this the rule, it is a bit presumptuous for people to show up in the country and decide the rule doesn’t apply to them. (“OK then, what other rules don’t apply to you?”)

Then, as it goes, the resisters simply make it worse for everyone else that want the benefit of the rule.
Pension insurance is just like any kind of insurance: Yes, true, you won’t know if you will collect on it. But if you are in the boat where you would, at some time in the foggy future, then you will want that coverage. This happens all the damn time.

There are things like “totalization treaties” that mostly help, and somewhat complicate the matter. In a pension totalization treaty, countries agree to suspend their qualification rules to recognize participation in plans of more than one country.

The United States first did one of these with Italy in 1979. And since then probably has done twenty-five or so with other countries.

In the U.S., you need forty “quarters” to qualify for a social security check. Each year, you can earn 4 quarters by earning just $6,000 or so in the year. So after ten years of even subsistence work, you should be “in” Social Security for some kind of check.

In Japan, out of those 480 months of paying in, you really need to make 300 months’ worth to see anything under the rule. So if you pay in 299 months and then leave, you get nothing but the 36 months refund amount. Sucks, eh?

Somewhere on the net, someone has said that the 300 month rule is modified by when you entered the program. Maybe this was Loophole Lewey, the CPA in Hawaii. So it might be that 299 months, or 200 or whatever does get you something.

But knowing human nature, it is a disincentive to enroll in the Japanese pension program.

Enter the totalization treaty.

If a U.S. citizen pays in even one month to Japanese Kokumin Nenkin, he or she will receive that small (estimated) $1.38 check at retirement, so long as he/she has paid in 25 years (or whatever required amount of time) combined between Japan, the U.S. and any other relevant treaty country.

So if you put (or plan to) 15 years in American social security, and 10 in Japanese Kokumin Nenkin, that is 25 years. America, you already qualify with 10 years (40 quarters), and the Japanese will count the 15 years in America on its 25 year rule. They will also send you a check on retirement.

So, if you come from a totalization country, the fact that you are paying the Japanese should be no skin off your . . . eh, teeth. The folks back home are paying their FICA on up to $105,000 or whatever, and so who are you?

Yes, it’s true that a visa holder here in Japan might not make it to age 65 anywhere. Or he/she is willing to hold on to their money and cover themselves and not ask for public help. But that really isn’t the system, is it? And particularly with U.S. social security, there is a built-in subsidy for people who did not pay in large amounts. (The so-called “bend points”, another post!) That is the whole rationale behind the Windfall Elmination Provision. So American cheaters here are scheming against both the Japanese and the Americans back home! Bad news!

Same goes for the National Health Insurance (“Kokumin kenko hoken”). The Japanese built the system out of health insurance contributions. And if some Australians or Brits have set up a private company to piggyback (for less money) on that system, it is really cheating the Japanese. For what I can see about the private (illegal) insurers mentioned in the article, that is all they are doing: piggybacking on a system they didn’t pay to set up.

For one, I am happy that the Japanese are enforcing the rule. It makes it easier to get other rights that are denied recognized and moves foreign visa holders out of a kind of second-class status.

My buddy at Debito.org suggests that he agrees with the new policy.

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12 comments

  1. hoofin · August 4, 2009

    The math on this is pretty straightforward, as by example:

    The Japanese agree to pay at age 65 a life annuity. For simplicity’s sake, let’s make it 20 years. (Most private annuity companies are going to charge you as if you could live 25, 30 or more after age 65).

    At a 2% discount, the value of those 138 yen payments every month, for 240 months, comes to 27,280 yen. You are paying 14,660 yen for that. Figures from the above post.

    So what you are promised in the future is more than what you have to pay now.

    Yes, the actual cash value of 240 payments of 138 yen along those 20 years is 33,120 — more than 27,280. But you must reduce the value by the fact that the people holding the money (the government) can invest and use it (or avoid paying interest on borrowing it). I pick 2% because it seems like a long-term rate for JGB’s. — the government’s credit card rate. It is “time value of money” discount.

    So you get a promise worth 27,280 yen at retirement, and only pay 14,660 for it. Since the nenkin coupon payment is the same whether you are age 20 or age 59, the deal grows the older you are. In this example, at my age (mid 40’s), I am getting about a 3% return on the money as I wait for the annuity.

    The deal is even better because the government will adjust the payment for any price inflation or any general increase in wages over the next couple decades.

    Now, will I be there to collect? God knows. But the fact is if I went out to buy such an annuity, I would have to pay a lot more than the nenkin coupon.

    Women generally live longer than men. So an annuity at a gender-neutral price is always a bad deal for us. But it comes with the territory. Life is tough, ne?

  2. hoofin · August 4, 2009

    For an American, this is how social security works.

    It is based on average indexed monthly earnings over 35 years (AIME). Basically, once you earn about $300,000 in total, at no more than $105,000 a year, you would meet the amount where you get the basic $660-or-so check.

    So if you work ten years at $30,000, paying into FICA, there is your $300,000 PLUS you then would have the 40 quarters to qualify for social security.

    It doesn’t matter when you do this over 35 years, and the earnings are indexed so that money earned long ago is adjusted by wage inflation to be like today’s money. (If you were earning $3.35 as a college student in the ’80’s, the Social Security Administration will weight those earnings to be like today’s money.)

    Any years beyond 35 years cause the low earning years to drop out. If you don’t have 35 years in, you really only need 10. Or rather, 40 quarters.

    People years ago (the military, post office and state workers who weren’t required to pay FICA) could game this by just working the 10 years. They would build pension credit in another program, and get two nice checks. So Congress enacted the Windfall Elimination Provision.

    But it’s also easy to see to how people could free ride it in Japan, not paying either the Kokumin Nenkin or the Self-Employment tax, which is the self-employed person’s FICA.

    Then, later in life they return to America and earn their 40 credits. They hardly had to pay into any pension system, yet they will get their $660 check with minimal contributions.

  3. hoofin · August 4, 2009

    For a Canadian, similarly with the CPP:

    http://www.ocrt-bctr.gc.ca/dapdep/r012002/sc03-eng.html

    Here is says you get to drop the lowest “15% of your working life” wages.

    So if it’s 40 years total, 6 of those years can be zeroed out when your government goes to figure your benefit. (In the States, the 35 years is actually 40, with the lowest five dropped.)

    If someone from Canada spends up to 6 years in Japan dodging the pension system, there is no ill-effect on their CPP pension when they go back to Canada. If they had been back in Canada paying in, those years might be among the 6 that get dropped (since they are early career wages).

    So a young Canadian can game it by avoiding Kokumin Nenkin here, keeping their money, and then going home to participate. If the Canadian pays up in Japan, the Canada-Japan totalization treaty credits those pension payments. So nothing is lost. But depending on how the treaty exactly applies, that nice little loophole disappears.

  4. Pingback: How pension totalization treaties work « Hoofin to You!
  5. hoofin · August 6, 2009

    Ah, it’s worth pointing out for Americans that the Windfall Elimination Provision only applies if you don’t need the treaty to collect.

    That is, if you put in the 25 years in Japan and 10 years (40 quarters) in America both.

    So maybe worked 1975-1999 in Japan and paid in, and 2000-2009 in America. America would haircut the check with the windfall eliminaton provision.

  6. Mumei · August 6, 2009

    Informative post.
    Do you know how the 脱退一時金 (lump-sum withdrawal payment) fits into the nenkin system?
    I would assume that taking the payment early would negate any of the monthly credits and hence not be eligible for Japanese retirement or even for a foreign totalization treaty.
    That and it maxes out at only 3-years, so there is a large potential to loose quite a bit in the end by taking it.

  7. hoofin · August 6, 2009

    Mumei,

    This is a very good question, and I don’t have the answer.

    Anyone who takes the lump-sum withdrawal is obviously signifying that they want out of the system. And if they have under 36 months in, then they are getting most of their contribution back.

    But what happens when they have paid in for five years? They only get 3 back, and are the other 2 then part of the totalization?

    And honestly, I don’t know. I have a feeling that once they take, or took, money back, they cancelled out their rights to collect from Japan in the future.

    This is a strange puzzle. Japan started the refund program because vesting here normally takes 25 years, unless you can get “kara kikan” as a permanent resident. So what seemed fair was to rebate up to the amount where most foreigners stay—90% leave after 3 years was the best research.

    Now, totalization comes along, and potentially all that “wasted” money is good. Three years in Japan, 22 in Canada (or any other treaty partner) and voila, 25 years vesting.

    I can’t really advise an individual situation without all the facts, but it sounds to me like anyone must weigh heavily if they want to pull that money out using the special withdrawal.

    If someone already has done the dai tai ichijikin pension refund (since Japan has been allowing it for years), can they pay the money back and undo it? My sense is probably not.

  8. Josh Ryan · January 9, 2013

    Fantastic article hoofin!! So glad I found it and appreciate your detailed write-up! I have been doing a fair bit of a research on this stuff lately as my time in Japan is coming to an end. My question is similar to Mumei’s. Basically, I have paid into the US system for 6 years (currently have 31 credits, need 9 more (about 2.5 years working in US) to qualify for the US pension system. I have worked in Japan for the past 7.5 years and will have paid into the pension system for the past 6 years. I am now moving to the UK to continue working. The UK and Japan both have these pension agreements with the US. So I am trying to figure out what I should do regarding this Lump Sum Pension Payout. The last three years of employment in Japan have been my biggest paying years, so the payout should be pretty good. I have been paying into the Employers Pension system (which is A LOT more than the national system).

    I don’t really see myself making my way back to Japan on a local contract and paying into the Japanese pension system (most likely if I were to return it would be on a expat contract and I would be paying my US pension payments from my check in the US) again. What I see most likely happening is that I will work in the UK for the next 3-5 years and then either staying there for the foreseeable future or returning to the US to work and live. But we never know what the future has in store for us.

    Since all three countries have an agreement between the other, can I simply use the years worked in the other two to count towards the other and collect a payment from all three when I retire? This doesn’t sound like it’s fair and would work, but you mention above that you can use the time worked in the US to count towards Japan and then also collect a check from the Japan pension system.

    If this works, then would it be wise to just leave all three pension systems open and use the credits in the to qualify.

    Another question would be if I never returned to Japan and simply used the credits earned in the UK and US to count towards the Japanese pension system so that I qualify. Would those payments be worth more than my one time pension payout?

    Well sorry to ask so many questions. Hopefully based on the personal situation above you or someone could make a recommendation. I know it would be helpful for me to see the answer on this for another person and would help in my decision making process. Thanks!

    • hoofin · January 9, 2013

      My advice is you would let all the money just stay. You would never get back the “future value” of 6 years in the Japanese program—the pension refund is limited to just 36 months (3 years). Unless you had some terminal disease, you couldn’t really beat what the Japanese are going to give you on retirement.

      The rules for UK totalization with Japan are different than what it is for the US. You obviously have US-Japan totalization already, and you would be looking to get US-UK totalization. If you had both, then each country (US, Japan, UK) would pay the proportionate check for the time you contributed into their respective system.

      • J R · January 10, 2013

        Hmmm, interesting! Well based on the Japanese pension service website, the UK and Japan agreement only includes the elimination of dual coverage. So credits worked in the UK don’t count towards Japan. So since I have only 6 years in the US and 6 years in Japan. I would need to work another 13 years in the US to even be able to qualify for retirement benefits in Japan. Since I will be moving to the UK to work and not sure where I will be going forward, I’m not sure I will be back in the US to work for 13 years (probably but not sure).

        Also when reading more into the agreement brochures on the ssa.gov site, it seems that by qualifying for both US and another country, the US will actually reduce your pension benefits because you are getting money from additional sources.

        Another thing that I think is important to factor is will this agreement always be there? Not out of the realm of possibilities that we have a WW3 in the future, what does this mean for the relationship with these countries and their agreement? Could it be thrown out the window? Perhaps, then wouldn’t it be a good idea to cash out your money now and invest it in a IRA or something else?

        Another big possibility is that the pension system in Japan can go bust by the time I am ready to collect and then I get nothing. Did you see this article recently in the news: http://www.japantoday.com/category/politics/view/labor-ministry-to-scrap-employee-pension-insurance-system

        Looks like the government plans to scrap the program anyways. Also the biggest problem with social security is that the younger generation pays for the older. The Japanese are the oldest people in the world and very top heavy in terms of age. This isn’t changing anytime soon, and apparently the population of Japan by 2100 will be 1/3 of what it is today, and most of those people will be the old timers expecting to collect a check.

        So the way I see it is there are a lot of things working against this system, and high probability that it will be gone or reduced anyways. And seeing that the US clearly states they will reduce the amount of money I am entitled to because I qualify somewhere else (and assuming the J-gov has a similar line of thinking). I guess the question I need to answer first is 1.) will I have enough credits in the US or another country that participates in the credit swapping program (UK does not) to even qualify for the Japanese pension. If the answer is “most likely” yes, then the next question I need to answer is 2.) what will my monthly payments be. Seeing that I only worked 6 years in Japan and paid in during that time, I can’t imagine they will be giving me that much money in my money payment just because I qualify due to the credits I worked in the US. Let’s say I am awarded 10,000 yen a month if I qualify. And let’s say my lump sum payment is 2 million yen. It would take me 16 years to collect that much money. But if I got that money now and invested it for the next 30 years it might be better off. This also isn’t factoring in the possibility that the agreement is thrown out the window or that the pension system doesn’t go bust.

        At the end of the day, there are too many FUTURE unforeseen variables, which makes this calculation and decision very difficult. I guess the key piece of info that is needed is what would I get monthly if I never return to Japan but am able to qualify for retirement by using credits from the US or elsewhere. Then once we have that number, make a decision based on the lump sum payout amount and percentages of things likely to happen.

        Anyone think I am totally off on this line of thinking or am I on the money?

        • hoofin · January 10, 2013

          There are some errors, and other points you need to consider.

          1) If you never return to our home (America), then, yes, you might have a problem collecting the Japan portion of what would mostly be a UK-Japan contribution career. From the facts you gave me, I was assuming that you wanted confirmation that US social security would send you a check, as it stood, when you retire. When you get the 25 (combined) years between Japan and the U.S., then the Japan check kicks in.

          What you left out of your research, though, was disability. You don’t need 25 totalized years between Japan and America for that. What happens if you have to collect for disability (from America), once you pull your money out of Japan’s system?

          2) You misunderstood how the Windfall Elimination Provision works in situations where you need to rely on the U.S.-Japan agreement to collect a pension benefit. Go back and read on that specific point.

          3) If the agreement isn’t always there, what makes you think prior activity won’t be grandfathered?

          4) What makes you think Japan “look[s] . . . to scrap the program anyways”? Have you also confused the ending of the Employee Pension Insurance program with the Employee Pension program in Japan? They are two different things. One was unregulated by the government.

          5) World War Three?? And you’d be worried about collecting on your Japan contributions?

          6) What makes you think that you get a big refund from Japan’s system? The last I read, they were only refunding Category I contributions, and then, only to an amount like 250,000 yen. You don’t get a refund of six years’ contributions, that’s for sure. Maybe three, and, more likely, two-and-a-half.

          7) Certain calculation of any future payment of anything is difficult. That’s called predicting the future. Here’s one for you: You get off the plane in your new job in London, and some “crazy guy” knee caps you so that you are “totally disabled” for purposes of working under Social Security disability coverage. If you don’t leave your money in the Japan system, do you have the coverage? If you have to go buy coverage to replace what you don’t get under U.S. social security disability, have you factored that into your planning? You have the long-term catastrophic/nihilist scenario pretty well covered. But about the here-and-now?

          Good luck on this one. I still think that the bird in hand on disability and on getting the potential second leg of U.S.-Japan totalization is greater than cashing 6/40th of a first-world country’s government annuity in for only 2.5 years contributions into their basic pension . . .

          • J R · January 10, 2013

            You misread a few things. Let me clarify…

            “What you left out of your research, though, was disability. You don’t need 25 totalized years between Japan and America for that. What happens if you have to collect for disability (from America), once you pull your money out of Japan’s system?”

            To collect from disability I would just need to qualify for benefits in the states. As I mentioned, I am only shy of 9 credits which is nothing. I will have that in 2 1/2 years time from working in London or elsewhere. Not a biggie and then makes the credits given into Japanese system completely worthless. The US only cares that you meet the minimum, once you meet that then it doesn’t matter how many credits I have in Canada, UK, Japan, or wherever, I qualify already and that’s that. So if I don’t plan to meet the Japan requirement and collect the Japanese pension, I would be a fool to not take the lump sum payment.

            [Hoofin’s Note: What I am saying is that both the U.S. and Japan social security systems include a disability component. It has nothing to do with 25 years. In the U.S., if you don’t have a participating five years of the last ten (excluding totalization), you can’t claim. If you have totalization, you might.]

            “2) You misunderstood how the Windfall Elimination Provision works in situations where you need to rely on the U.S.-Japan agreement to collect a pension benefit. Go back and read on that specific point.”

            I never claimed to understand the Windfall Elimination provision. Where did I state that? But yes, I would like to read up more on it, do you have link to a good explanation of it? I’m guessing you are referring to my statement of the US reducing your benefits because you are using agreement country’s credits to qualify.
            Well that’s strait from the SSA’s site – “When a U.S. benefit becomes payable as a result of counting both U.S. and U.K. Social Security credits, an initial benefit is determined based on your U.S. earnings as if your entire career had been completed under the U.S. system. This initial benefit is then reduced to reflect the fact that U.K. credits helped to make the benefit payable. The amount of the reduction will depend on the number of U.S. credits: the more U.S. credits, the smaller the reduction; and the fewer U.S credits, the larger the reduction.” – http://www.ssa.gov/international/Agreement_Pamphlets/japan.html

            [Hoofin’s Note: OK, so you were talking about something going on in calculating what you get from the US when some UK participation is present. It sounds like it functions just like Windfall Elmination. For US-Japan, Windfall Elimination does NOT apply if you have to rely on the totalization agreement. That’s what I thought you were getting at. Not UK-US, but Japan-US.]

            “3) If the agreement isn’t always there, what makes you think prior activity won’t be grandfathered?”
            The same thinking you have on this point. Nothing is for certain. You don’t know it will be grandfathered in just as much as I don’t know if it will still be in place when you and I retire.

            [Hoofin’s note: Right. That’s how financial planning goes though.]

            “4) What makes you think Japan “look[s] . . . to scrap the program anyways”? Have you also confused the ending of the Employee Pension Insurance program with the Employee Pension program in Japan? They are two different things. One was unregulated by the government.”

            Hmmm, this one I don’t get at all. I pay into the “Employee Pension Insurance program”. It’s referred to as the EPI. Here is their website. http://www.nenkin.go.jp/n/www/english/detail.jsp?id=39 That’s what I am paying into every month and where the money will come from to pay me when I retire. Not sure why you see these being two different things. You might want to check that website as from what I can from my paystubs, I pay into the EPI system. not a EPP system. Never heard of that one.

            [Hoofin’s Note: There is kosei nenkin hoken, which is commonly referred to as Employees’ Pension Insurance, but is, in fact, what people consider to be the Employee’s Pension. Then, there is something called kosei nenkin kikin, which is something different. It is not the first thing, which many people confuse it for. (Because the Japan Times confuses it, calling it Employees’ Pension Insurance as well.) The Japanese government is disbanding the kikin and putting those accounts into the first thing, the hoken.]

            “5) World War Three?? And you’d be worried about collecting on your Japan contributions?”

            Nope, I wouldn’t be worried because I would already have that money and be sitting on my boat on a island away from all the action. Just one of the perks of having the money in my hands and not in someone elses.

            [Hoofin’s Note: With the breakdown of common society, your “money” would very likely be worthless. I would rather have a promised, inflation-adjusted government annuity from a country with a first world economy.]

            “6) What makes you think that you get a big refund from Japan’s system? The last I read, they were only refunding Category I contributions, and then, only to an amount like 250,000 yen. You don’t get a refund of six years’ contributions, that’s for sure. Maybe three, and, more likely, two-and-a-half.”

            Well I’m not sure what system you are in, if you only belong to the government Kokumin Nenkin that one is well for lack of better words, crap. It’s mostly because you don’t contribute that much with that program. Also nobody is making your payments. With my employer they match yen for yen that is taken out and it’s a good 13-16% of your yearly salary (again, why someone would be crazy not to take the lump sum unless they were planning to work the total 25 years in Japan). You can see here – http://www.nic-nagoya.or.jp/en/e/archives/349. The comparison is not completely transparent but you can see the guy that is only enrolled in the kokumin nenkin gets a lump sum payment of 211,500 yen (similar to your quote above), but the guy enrolled in the EPI plan will get 840,000 yen. A big difference. Also, I make more than this guy in the scenario that makes only 400,000 yen a month. So yes, my payout would be a nice sum of money. And yes you do get the full amount, you should check out the Lump Sum application its pretty clearly stated there. http://www.nenkin.go.jp/n/www/english/detail.jsp?id=10. And you can file for the 20% that is taxed to get the full 100% of the last three years. And yes you wont be able to get more than 3 years. But let’s say the worker only paid in 6 years and the first 3 years his salary was substantially lower than the final 3 years, then okay yes he wont get back the full amount, but is it worth it to just forget about those last three years that he paid in 13-16% of his salary.

            [Hoofin’s Note: Yes, I see what you are saying, and that’s what I understood, too. However, recently I read a brochure that seemed to be indicating that only Category I (kokumin nenkin) could apply for the refund. I’ll see if I can come up with that link–I have the hard copy somewhere.]

            “7) Certain calculation of any future payment of anything is difficult. That’s called predicting the future. Here’s one for you: You get off the plane in your new job in London, and some “crazy guy” knee caps you so that you are “totally disabled” for purposes of working under Social Security disability coverage. If you don’t leave your money in the Japan system, do you have the coverage? If you have to go buy coverage to replace what you don’t get under U.S. social security disability, have you factored that into your planning? You have the long-term catastrophic/nihilist scenario pretty well covered. But about the here-and-now?”

            The probability of the disability scenario playing out is very unlikely and then it still doesn’t make sense. Are you telling me crippled people don’t have jobs and can’t earn money? Sounds like a silly example that doesn’t make much sense. I think the odds of the US and Japanese pension systems going bust or not being able to pay back the amount I paid into them a lot more likely.

            You seemed to take my questions as attacks for some reason where I was just trying to gather more information. I have researched this quite a bit, and perhaps you are having trouble comparing it because you are looking at the kokumin nenkin and not the other programs and how much those programs requires one to pay into. Well I have an appointment with an accountant next week as well as a planned visit to the pension office here in Tokyo. I’ll let you know what they recommend and say, might be helpful. Always question things and research for the truth.

            [Hoofin’s Note: In the example, you get disabled in a way that you qualify for Social Security Disability. It’s nothing about disabled people. It’s an example. If you don’t have the totalized five years in the past ten, you don’t have disability coverage. Unless you buy private. If you give up the pension portion, you are basically cashing in an annuity for half of what the annuity is really worth. But there is also the disability portion. You don’t really discuss that.

            I have to excuse myself if you sense an attitude. Sometimes I have a small group of people troll my site. They really aren’t interested in dialoguing about totalization (or whatever) as rather to send me messages about how “wrong” I am about this or that. Usually, it involves their not reading something, or taking something else out of context. I didn’t know if you were legit after your second post, or whether that small group was bored.]

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