Here comes the new Japan Residence Card.

Jun Hongo writes for the Japan Times.

As regular readers know, one of the features of the new card will be the ability of the Ministry of Justice to track who is in the pension and health care programs. So this whole scheme of flying under the radar, with regard to one—and usually both—is going to be coming to its inevitable end.

See those little buckets there?

Now, we know that the pension and health care protesters are going to try and get around, just like they did in 2009. The difference only is that now, there will be the little blank box on the record. Prior to July 2012, if you didn’t enroll in the pension, the pension board probably didn’t even know you were around. Same with the health insurance desk at the ward office. NOW, though, people are going to notice. They run a report, you are one of the gaijins who doesn’t have the medical and the pension . . .

You know that the foreign lobbyists will go traipsing over to the U.S. Embassy or to the ACCJ, for them to put pressure on the Japanese ministry to keep everything the same. You know this. This is how those scummie guys and gals work it. I think it’s going to get harder, though. More people–people for whom it would matter–are becoming aware that Japan is cheating us on the social security totalization. Japanese take the American checks, and then Japan sets up schemes to deny coverage to the Americans working in Japan. Allegedly, it’s “their choice” (the Americans’ choice). But practically, the industries like Eikaiwa and ALT assume no pension coverage, and so the wages for work in those industries don’t have to include a cost for pension. It’s the Japanese government’s choice that Americans aren’t enrolled, because they let that dodge continue . . .

I wonder if the U.S. state department will ever request hard numbers about enrollment and the like.

My advice to the newbies, and to those who have been in Japan for a while, is to enroll at least in the pension and get your blue book. You want to do that if you are an American, in any event, because you want to show the IRS that you were covered for pension while in Japan—that way, the IRS will not be looking for 15.3% tax on any self employment income . . .

Whether you pay the pension or not is Japan’s business. But you should have that book.