Home > Life in Japan > Features
  print button email button

Tuesday, Jan. 4, 2005


Aged care, drivers' license woes and an alert

'Kaigo hoken'

I have been in Japan many years but have never applied for permanent residence. I had personal insurance under Pacific Star until last year. Their present carrier will not insure past renewal at age 64. I do not know how much longer I will be in Japan but I am positive that at the time I should need nursing care I would return to the U.S. Therefore, there is no way for me to receive any benefits from the near 50,000 yen a year I am being asked to pay to the Japanese national health insurance system. Now the local office is writing, with threats of more forceful action, if their billings are not paid. How is this to be handled?

Your question raises many other questions. Simply put, you are trying to have it both ways -- be in Japan without being a part of the system.

The way the system is set up in Japan, often there are requirements without penalties. We spoke with the nursing care insurance department, and all individuals living in Japan aged over 40 must pay into the "kaigo hoken" plan. The fee is determined by income.

If you do not pay the fee, there is no penalty. In addition, if you need help they will be unable to help you due to your failure to pay into the system.

We had a long discussion with the people at the city office, but it puts them into a difficult position as they understand the fact that you will return to your own country, etc., but the rules are very simple.

You need to make the decision yourself -- you are required to pay if you are aged over 40 but there is no penalty for not paying. A very Japanese way of handling things.

Drivers' license

Today I went to change my Indonesian drivers' license to a Japanese drivers' license. I tried to explain to the drivers' license center staff that the reason the name in my passport is different from that on my drivers' license is due to the fact that we must reverse our names when applying for a drivers' license in Indonesia. The Indonesian police won't change my license. I already brought all the documents like "gaikoku jin toroksu shomensho" from the city office but staff said they could not help me. I really can't understand what I should do. It seems unreasonable to me. What can I do?

There have been many cases of fraudulent documents and the drivers' license people are very strict now.

Please go to the Indonesian Embassy and have them write an explanation of your situation and the reasons for the different name, and what the proper name should be.

This documentation provided by the embassy will satisfy the drivers' license center.

Year End advice!

One of our most faithful readers and senders of information is Peter Van Buren from the U.S. Embassy.

We have some important information for those living in the Tokyo area.

On the afternoon of Nov. 30, an English-speaking male approached two students from one of the international schools in Tokyo shortly after they departed their bus stop in Shibuya. The male told one of the students that the student's mother had been injured, and offered to transport the student to the mother. Neither student believed the man, and they both quickly departed the area and reported the incident to their parents when they arrived at their residences.

On the following day the students reported the incident to officials who notified the police. As a result of the incident police will increase patrols in areas designated as bus stops and deploy additional undercover police officers to those locations.

Parents are reminded to talk to your children about what they should do if approached by strange individuals.


The U.S. Embassy Web site is a gold mine of information at japan.usembassy.gov/e/acs/tacs-7111b.html

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

Back to Top

About us |  Work for us |  Contact us |  Privacy policy |  Link policy |  Registration FAQ
Advertise in japantimes.co.jp.
This site has been optimized for modern browsers. Please make sure that Javascript is enabled in your browser's preferences.
The Japan Times Ltd. All rights reserved.