Japan relies on misinformation to keep foreigners out of pension and health care programs.

An oldie but goodie. October 1 will mark 8 years that the US and Japan have had the totalization agreement regarding social security. It will also mark the opening of the Obamacare Health Insurance Exchanges—where uninsured Japanese in America will be able to purchase the same plans as US citizens, and receive the same terms and benefits.


Watch how it works.

Japan Today carried a story about how the Japanese government is looking to modify the guideline for enrolling an employee in the Shakai Hoken (employer’s social insurance) from workers generally being in with 30 hours per week, to 20 hours per week. And including an annual minimum of 650,000 yen in wages.

This is, effectively, not much of a change: because the government doesn’t really “enforce” the guideline. Now, if they had said, here is the new guideline, and here are the penalties for not following the guideline . . . Things would be different. But, as you read the comments, the topic inevitably turns to: “why should I have to pay?”

The bottom line is that social insurances (old age pension, disability, unemployment, and the biggie, health insurance) act as a tax on wages. Who bears the incidence of tax? Well, the employee–not the employer…

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