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Tuesday, Dec. 19, 2006

LIFELINES

Pensions, residency and driving


At this time of the year, it is good to think about what exactly the "holiday" is. It is Christmas -- the birthday of Jesus Christ -- and Hanukkah -- the Jewish festival of lights. They are both important times of the year to remember, say "thanks" and reflect.

Pensions

TS came to Japan in 1985 as the foreign wife of a Japanese. After that time, it became possible (for a short time, she learned later) for foreign wives to enroll for regular pensions. All were given a number to keep for collecting a pension someday.

TS' husband still pays into this system for her, but in moving, she lost the number. Is there anyway to ask the relevant agency to give her the number again, she wonders.

TS will be able to find the number by contacting the city office at which she was originally registered.

TS can also locate it through her husband's number.

The system is well maintained, so there should be no problem in retrieving the number.

TS can get additional and contact information, should she need it, through www.mhlw.go.jp/english

Alien Registration

HJ wonders if a permanent resident leaves Japan for a year to study/work, and has a valid re-entry permit, is it absolutely necessary to maintain a legal residence in Japan during the time that s/he is out of the country.

He would like to close down his home while away, but this will affect his alien registration card.

We have carefully checked this and have not been able to find out any specific "need" to maintain a home or residence.

The only concern is that someone has a valid address that various paperwork from the local city office can be sent to.

What people usually do when they will be gone for an extended period of time is to have their address changed to that of a friend who can collect their mail and let them know if anything important comes.

This is a common sense approach to anyone planning to return to Japan and Japanese do it when they go overseas for business transfers, to study and for other extended stays.

On the subject of re-entry permits, the Japanese Government also allows for emergency extension of the re-entry permit in the case of "illness, travel interruption or continuation of studies."

The period of this extension can be for up to one year as long as the total re-entry permit time does not exceed four years. This can be done through the closest Japanese Embassy or consulate.

More information on permanent residency can be found at www.mofa.go.jp/j_info/visit/visa/12.html

From our readers

Reader SD writes: "I think your statement in an earlier column that 'if you are living in Japan for over three months, you must get a Japanese license' is a slight misrepresentation.

The rule as I understand it is that if you leave after registering as an alien or resident, and return within three months, the one-year period (of validity for an international driving license) does not start over."

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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