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Tuesday, June 22, 2004

LIFELINES

Visa cards, pensions and thesaurus info


Visa card

Is it possible to get a zero annual fee Visa or Mastercard from a Japanese bank? It is quite common in the U.S., but I have never heard of or seen one here.

Try as we might, we have not been able to find a zero Annual Fee card. At the same time, there are many opportunities for various cards that give you benefits each time you use them. For example, United Airlines has a "Mileage Plus" credit card (see www. unitedairines.co.jp ) that lets you earn air miles as you purchase.

American Express and Citibank offer similar programs at www.Americanexpress.co.jp and www.citibank.co.jp

Have any of our readers heard of a "no charge" credit card in Japan? Please let us know.

Pensions

I have heard that Japan is planning a pension agreement with the U.S. and South Korea (possibly by 2006) that would enable citizens from these two countries to be refunded all of their pension payments. Is this true?

Also, another question: I have read previously that the current situation allows up to 3 years of payments to be returned; however, I saw in a recent article that it is 2 1/2 years. Could you clarify which is correct?

Yes, you are right. They are currently finalizing agreements regarding pensions between the U.S. and Japan. These will do away with the "double paying" of pensions. This simply means that any money you pay into one pension is counted towards the overseas one and vice versa, so wherever you decide to retire you can receive pension payments.

As for repayment periods, the key word is "up to" three years. This all depends on how long you have been paying in and various other factors.

From the U.S. Embassy

Our friend Peter Van Buren at the U.S. Embassy notifies us that, sadly, after 40 years, the Internal Revenue Service office at the U.S. Embassy is closing.

The information on obtaining Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers (ITIN) for Japanese spouses has been particularly popular with expats. For more information, please visit www. tokyoacs. com

Foxnews

Foxnews subscribers have been notified that Foxnews is planning to cancel the service on July 31. Two years ago, the same thing happened and a group, Savefoxnews, worked to keep it on the air.

Those interested in keeping Foxnews on the air can contact savefoxnews@yahoo.com or savefoxnews@keikyo.com

From our Readers

Regarding last week's question about a Japanese thesaurus, Wendy writes that a Japanese thesaurus is actually called a "ruigojiten" and can be purchased in many different varieties for as little as -3,000.

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


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