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Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2004


Planning for your financial future in Japan

I am looking for some pension and retirement information in Japan. Even though I am only 34, I am thinking about the financial situation in the future. I am Swiss, but have spent the past few years abroad, so I have to count on foreign retirement support.

I plan to spend my next 25 years working in Japan working. Theoretically, I can then receive my pension in Japan.

But how much would it be? How about social security? Can anyone give me an idea how much I can expect, if I pay "properly" my dues for both? As I do not expect it to be a lot, I need additional ways to fund my future living expenses. Are there any information about retirement saving plans in Japan?

Put simply, I would like to have some idea about what I can expect in my retirement age while living in Japan.-- Retiring in Tokyo

Like the question of national Health Insurance, this question is a bit of a "gray zone."

If you are in the system you cannot leave until you finally leave the country, but if you are not enrolled yet, you can manage to stay out of the system as long as you have some form of equivalent insurance.

If you plan to stay in Japan for the next 25 years then it may very well be that the "nenkin" system be part of your planning. Basically there are two types of pension -- personal and company.

The personal system will give you approximately 70,000 yen, give or take, when you retire. The company will get you somewhere around 200,000 yen. This is a very basic and broad figure but should give you some idea.

Generally, the advantages and disadvantages are much like the insurance system in that if you have a low income it is good deal, if you have a large income it can become quite expensive as the monthly premiums are decided on the basis of your income.

You can receive your pension outside of Japan with no problem and if you decide to leave the system you can have part of your payment returned to you.

Generally if you are not enrolled in the system and have a fairly large income it is probably better to be part of a private system.

You may also receive a pension from your home country, which can be combined with the Japanese pension. A number of countries have concluded agreements with Japan regarding pension systems, including most EU countries.

To get more information, give Mr. Mine from Pacificstar a call at (0484) 79-2317.

As far as we know this is the only company providing a yearly insurance scheme that is about the same as the Japanese health insurance system and can get you information on a pension program.

You may also call Mr. Inomoto at (03) 3582-7482. He can steer you around the basics of the Japanese system -- in Japanese!

From our readers

I want to compliment you on providing accurate information regarding the "immigration worry" article on green cards on Dec. 2, 2003.

Returning once a year is necessary. The re-entry permit is necessary and not many people seem to be aware of the availability. My wife received one about six months after applying. Although not in print anywhere at the Tokyo Regional Immigration Bureau, Japanese Permanent Residents must return to Japan at least once every three years to maintain status. -- Mike

From our readers II

Maryann (Lifelines; Dec. 23, 2003) forgot to advise readers to check out the Foreign Buyers Club in Kobe ( ryohori@fbcusa.com).

"FBC has so many services . . . a study programme in English designed to help you pass the driving test in Japan. All kinds of electric appliances from the U.S. (Robert, take note!), information on cheap long distance services, etc." Best of all, she says, FBC delivers to your computer or your door. "Neat. Not everyone lives in Tokyo you know. Those of us with a brain don't even visit there." Ouch!

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

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