New Japanese Basic Resident Registration (“Zairyu Card”) to require health and pension information

OK, People, I honestly want to go back to discussing how the IRS is screwing Americans who work overseas, or how American multinational executives feel they are above the laws of Congress, or even the hit movie “Avatar”. But I am stuck on this f-ing [bleeping] expat health care thing.

As was widely reported last year, Japan will be introducing a new “Zairyu Card” and Basic Resident Registration to replace the current Alien Registration System. I am not sure the exact date when this happens, but it does happen shortly.

That means your “gaijin card” will go bye bye. And a new card will take its place.

The folks who actually read the rules as they come out—both Japanese and non-Japanese—have been looking at this. And one feature of the new system that is highly relevant to the current FreeChoice quasi-tax protest is the fact that under the new Basic Resident Registration system, a visa holder here will have his/her insurance and pension status recorded as part of the overall record.

This had never (officially) happened for the foreigners. But now it will.

I like what the Japanese Ministry of Internal Affairs (Soumu) put out at its offcial site, in English. If you read me, you are used to English, and so it should be no problem for you. It was no problem for the Japanese government people who put out the information.

The Japanese are making it clear that pension and health insurance are issues, and will be issues. So you skirt or shirk these at your own risk!

(Over on Debito’s, I had initially confused Soumu with Suumo, the Recruit brand. Ha ha! This is why I can never get the language down as well as I think I should!)

The Ministry has also produced this neat little chart. In my old company, I used to see a few workers piss countless hours away on useless process charts. But this one is no way in that category. I think it’s very valuable for making clear what the new deal is:

(Click to enlarge!)

Do you see the buckets for pension and health insurance? The gist is: you are going to get the same treatment as the ordinary Japanese resident with regard to these. This means, at minimum, you are going to be asked about your situation with pension and insurance (whether or not you are paid up).

If you take Japan seriously, where do you want to be in that regard?