How many Americans in Japan are covered by Japanese pension?

Also: How many have been covered?

Does anyone know if the Japanese government publishes these kinds of figures? It goes to the totalization project. The piece I already have, from the other day, is that over 32,000 Japanese collect U.S. social security with the help of the totalization agreement. (There are any number more who qualified by getting the more-or-less 10 years (40 credits) that the States requires, as opposed to Japan’s 25 years.)

It doesn’t sound to me that the number of Americans participating in Japan would be a number that the Japanese would want to brag about. So I don’t expect to find it. But I do want to give the old college try–with your help!

[Update: Bonus points – how many Americans end up on SSI because they spent a lot of years in Japan, and never paid into the Japanese pension?]

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2 comments

  1. Steve van Dresser · May 27, 2011

    I am one American expat who is drawing a Japanese pension. I may have been the first expat to find and utilize the karakikan to collect pension benefits. You may have run across a copy of a paper on the subject on Debito’s blog which I wrote with Stephanie Houghton almost 10 years ago:

    http://www.debito.org/karakikan.htm

    • hoofin · May 27, 2011

      Steve, I appreciate the link to your research from 2002. Ashley Thompson, a contributor to the Japan Times, has been writing recently about kara kikan, and she stopped by my site for information on it.

      Ashley’s indication is that kara kikan might not be available. But clearly, your example shows that it has been available to permanent residents or others who came late to the Japanese system.

      My general advice on it has been that if someone (American) qualifies through the totalization agreement, they would NOT want to rely on kara kikan. This is because social security would potentially haircut their social security check under the Windfall Elimination Provision. I know of no real life examples where this has happened, but I think this is because of the scarcity of Americans who are in the Japanese pension system.

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