Japanese Pension System – a review for the Zairyu Card

An oldie but goodie: foreigners in Japan are supposed to be enrolled in at least the Japanese National Pension (kokumin nenkin), and have that blue book. From this post two years ago, I surmised that the Japanese would at least have a record of who is in, and who isn’t. It sounds like they’re still not enforcing their own law, though, when it comes to foreigners. BAD NEWS in the month where we recognize the 10th anniversary of the U.S.-Japan Totalization Agreement in effect.


I just want to review this for those who pop in to Hoofin to You on a search about the Japanese pension system. I am still amazed at what people who go to Japan don’t know, and the fact that the Japanese government doesn’t seem to tell them they way they should.

What you see above is a “Nenkin Techo” book — a pension book. You are supposed to sign up for the Japanese pension system and get a book like this (I’m sure they haven’t changed it.)

The idea of the Japanese National Pension is pretty straightforward: you make 480 payments, currently about 15,000 yen a month, and are promised a benefit of about 780,000 yen a year at age 65. You need to make 300 payments to “vest”, which means be eligible to collect.

There are other ways to collect, however. The main one is through totalization

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