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Tuesday, Oct. 21, 2003


Internet bill nightmare, pension payouts, and singing groups

Internet connection

I have a problem that concerns with my Internet Service Provider. I was billed for over 100,000 yen for Internet connection and international calls. Most of the bill came from international phone calls, which I thought were free.

My Internet connection started last March 15. According to the advertisement, I could use and try their Internet connection for 2-3 months free, plus their Internet phone, including international calls. However, my bill for June was about 4,500 yen without any figure written under Internet phone usage. Should I really have been billed 100,000 yen?

Your three-month free plan is in fact so -- and it is 4,500 yen per month after that. The problem is that international calls are not free. The company says that they make it very clear to each customer that international calls are billed on a per-minute basis and it is written on your information sheet. Your bill is valid, but the company are more than willing to work out a payment plan.

Have any of our other readers had any problems like this? Please let us know.

Pension payout

I have just received my lump sum pension payout overseas, after having been forced to contribute for 3 years on a fixed-term, nonrenewable contract.

The amount is less than I was expecting. I put the application in before new rules went into effect on April 1 (application was sent early February). My application was returned in late April with a request for additional information (my address in Japan during a certain period, a question not on the original application form).

I returned the information in early May. I received the payout in mid-August. How is the payout calculated? Should it have been calculated under the old rules (more favorable) or the new rules?

Unfortunately, although you put your application in in February, it seems that it was incomplete, so it is calculated from when it was first properly applied for.

That is the discrepancy, and why you received a payment based on the new system.

From our readers

Regarding "Mukogaoka Jane," who was looking for a choir and a singing teacher. She should contact the Tokyo International Singers at (044) 833-9258 in English, French or Japanese.

Rehearsals are Monday/Saturday nights at the Olympic Memorial Youth Center, which can be reached on the Odakyu line.

There is information available online at www.tokyo-singers.org

Ken Joseph Jr. directs The Japan Helpline at www.jhelp.com or (0570) 000-911 Send your queries, questions, problems and posers, to: lifelines@japantimes.co.jp

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