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Tuesday, Aug. 5, 2003

LIFELINES

NHK fees, will-writing and shipping


The NHK man

Dear Lifelines: Recently my wife, who is Japanese, answered the door to an NHK rep. She was warned that not paying the monthly fee of 1,000 yen could wind her up in court. She paid.

I wasn't home at the time and was a little annoyed when I found out because our reception of NHK is not ideal. My question then is: Do we have to pay the monthly (tax) fee? Can we be taken to court? What are the consequences of refusing to pay? -- Not so eager to pay

Dear Not so eager to pay; When the NHK guy came around to our house, we asked him if we had to pay. He said yes. Then we asked him if we could be punished for not paying. He said no. Then we shut the door.

In other words, you do "have to pay" but there is no penalty if you don't.

We used to laugh when the NHK guy would come around after that because my dad would say "We don't watch NHK." That strange logic usually left the poor guy with nothing to say.

We checked with NHK and you should get the name of the person who told you they could take you to court. This is completely false. It is essentially voluntary and there is no penalty if you do not pay.

The next time they come simply say "oh, we don't watch NHK." That should end it.

Writing a will

I am a British permanent resident of Japan and want to write a will with particular regards to property inheritance.

My Japanese partner and I (we are not married) have recently bought a plot of land and are having a house built on it.

The land title and the mortgage are in my name only. My partner and I shared the cost of the deposit and share the monthly mortgage repayments. It is our intention that should something happen to one of us the land and property should pass to the other and in the event of us both passing on that our designated heirs (from both our families) should share in the inheritance.

Please advise as to the best way to go about writing a will and also what rights my partner would have to the land and house should I die and we not be a legally married couple and all the legal documents remain in my name.

Is it possible for me to designate someone not legally a family member as an heir and also to "tie" them to the will in the event of their death? -- Osaka John

Dear Osaka John; The laws in Japan do not provide for an unmarried partner nor for relatives of that partner. You need to carefully provide in a will for what you have described above.

The best advice we could give would be to meet with a lawyer immediately and have your will drawn up.

To start, give attorney Watanabe a call at (03) 3222-5361. His office will be able to give you advice over the telephone and help you with a good lawyer in your area if you need that.

From our readers

Regarding the shipping of pets, as reader Nori in Michigan understands it, the U.S. Agricultural Dept. will not let you import pets when the temperature is above 78 F (or so). Thus regardless of whether the dog is sent air cargo or with you, the airlines will not accept it.

Also, most airlines will accept pets as cargo. However, there is a price difference. When it is sent as cargo, the ticket is approximately double what you would pay as against accompanying luggage (30,000 yen to 80,000 yen).

Quickies

Need helping in repairing your home? Contact Antonio at canalesantonio@hotmail.com. They can do just about everything if they can fit you in.

Irish in Japan? Get in touch with Mary and get involved in all manner of Irish-related shenanigans and projects, including the upcoming Emerald Ball. E-mail mary.kilgarriff@nmi-intl.com

Need office space or an apartment? Check out www.mori.co.jp in English.

Send your queries, questions, problems and posers, to: lifelines@japantimes.co.jp


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