A Tozen [sister] union member suing Japan for the correct enrollment in pension and health care.

[Update 5/26/12: It appears that Berlitz Japan union is still affiliated with NAMBU-FWC in Tokyo. It was not one of the many unions to realign with Tokyo General Union, although some Begunto people cooperate with the newer “Tozen”.]

This comes to me via the Facebook feed.

A member of the Berlitz Japan (Begunto) union, affiliated with [NAMBU-FWC, sister union to] Tokyo General Union (Tozen), brought a case against the Japan Pension Service when Berlitz sought to remove the member from the Social Insurance (Shakai Hoken).

If you are a foreigner in Japan who is even lucky enough to get your company to agree to cover you in the Social Insurance, without at least a few uncomfortable seconds when you start your first day of work, you might find along the way that the Japanese have some policy guideline from the year 1980 that allows you to be kicked off (or not covered in the first place) if your hours are not the equivalent the three-quarters of the typical worker in the establishment.

Is that the law? No. It is a guideline that someone wrote in 1980. That someone is probably long into retirement, maybe even has gone to his or her (likely his) heavenly reward.

But the Japanese still trot this policy guideline out—especially against foreigners.

It’s surprising, but it is indeed high time that someone actually sued about that. A 32-year-old policy guideline that the contemporary Japan Pension Service is honoring simply because they’ve been able to pull it out and use it for so many years so far.

The Japan Pension Service, as you know, is the successor to the scandal-ridden Social Insurance Agency that had lost so many pension records of Japanese during the bubble years. They are still working to get the records straight, although I will tell you that mine are 100% correct, as someone who got there, and went in, in 2005. (My thing is more the labor and employment laws that tend to be overlooked.)

I hope that the Berlitz employee succeeds, because then there would actually be a case showing that the 1980 guideline is hogwash, and that anyone who is employed by a covered employer is supposed to be enrolled in the Social Insurance. It clears up a lot of headaches, and also honors the totalization agreement that we Americans have with the Japanese.

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