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Tuesday, May 25, 2004


More pension information and hiking

Pension I

I am a foreign national living and working in Japan. I have heard that when I leave Japan, I will be reimbursed for my contributions to the national insurance , unemployment insurance or national pension plans.

Is this true, and if so, how do I apply for this reimbursement?

The whole pension system has become a hot topic in Japan these days, though you'll be pleased to know the process for getting back (some) of your pension payments is very simple.

Simply go to your local ward office and let them know you will be leaving the country.

You will be given a form to fill out on which you will need to details your bank account either in Japan or in another country.

Generally if you have been paying in faithfully you should receive around 2 1/2 years of your pension money back within a few months.

Pension II

I've lived in Japan for 6 years. Next year I plan on changing my job. I paid into the JET pension system for the first 3 years and a different pension system at my current school.

Next year I plan on returning (somewhat briefly) to my home country, getting my 6 years of pension money back, and then hopping back to Japan to start my new career.

My office says that the above should be no problem.

My question pertains to my new job with regards to pension and health insurance. I plan to stay with the public health insurance but not to contribute to the pension plan.

I will be self employed. Any problems with this?

Unfortunately the return on your pension is just a one time opportunity. It can only be used when you are permanently leaving Japan.

You cannot get reimbursed and then come back to Japan and not pay. Further, you can only get 2 1/2 years at the most of your pension back so if you are planning on staying in Japan long-term and have already paid six years it is best to keep on paying.

From Our Readers

I guess you are getting now hundreds of hairdressers' addresses, but mine is really good.

For people in the Nagoya-Gifu area, "Jill aller" in Ichinomiya (near the law-court is great. You can call Mr. Kano at (0586) 24-1233 for an appointment. -- Susan

From Our Readers II

Recently your column had some information about hiking. You might want to add Friends of the Earth, which has hikes most Sundays.

The schedule, meeting times and summary of the hikes, are available on the net at: www.foejapan.org/en/event/hike.html

There is a fee of 1,000 yen toward hike organization costs and contribution to their environmental work.

There is no reservation needed. Just turn up at the meeting place. -- Steven

Ken Joseph directs The Japan Helpline at (0570) 000911 or at www.jhelp.com Send your queries, questions, problems and posers, to: lifelines@japantimes.co.jp

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