Foreigners still required to carry Japanese health insurance in Japan – no change!

Free Choice’s Ron Kessler continues to make news through the Japan Times that somehow foreigners residing in Japan should not be required to be insured through an approved Japanese government plan.

The latest bit of non-news is from the Japan Times.

Months ago, the immigration bureau said it would not be denying visas to foreign residents who decided, for whatever reason, not to be in Japanese health and pension insurance.

But now, somehow it’s news that the bureau is deleting an express requirement to show proof, and instead will simply ask to see proof. Then, provide information on how to enroll if the visa renewer doesn’t have that proof.

Again—and I’ve said it countless times—everything Ron Kessler’s group is doing is an end run around the Labor and Health Ministry, where the Real Rule is set.

[Update: As I was saying earlier today, and did late last year, what Ron Kessler has failed to do is go right to Minister Nagatsuma’s office and get a ruling that these various gap insurers are acceptable insurance. He keeps going back to immigration and trying to get them, basically, not to ask questions. He couches this in terms of “choices” and “penalties”, but the reality is that Ron’s group is trying to rewrite a law the Japanese already wrote, and then argue whether and how it should apply to visa holders.

Since I am one of the few consistent bloggers on the issue, I get questions. And the advice I give is to follow the rule. It especially sucks when you’ve put money out on gap insurance—and there really should be an amnesty for those who did. The amnesty would be, show what you paid, and we’ll deduct it from what you would otherwise owe. This way, the people suckered in by the gap insurers, or employers, or misfeasant clerks who give out wrong information, aren’t penalized for someone else’s con or screw up.

When I read the article, it seemed clear to me that the Japanese are going to want to have their law respected. So, yes, like it was said last summer, they will renew the visa in the absence of a legitimate health policy. But they are going to want to see a policy and they are going to point you in the direction of getting one. That’s the point about the “gently lightly notify” or however it was put. If they kick you out of the country, there goes the insurance premium. Right?

It takes a lot of gall for someone like Kessler to say that he’s going back to immigration and tell them they shouldn’t even ask about these things. Especially when the goods are on him that he is somehow involved in Health One, a gap insurer.

If Ron and his group wanted to really do favors, he would go to Minister Nagatsuma’s office and ask for a ruling on the issue. Like I said, I’ll eat my hat if Labor and Health says that foreign residents slide on that.

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