(original photo by Katamakura; CC BY-SA 3.0)


Japan has 2 types of pension plans, Kosei-Nenkin (厚生年金, Employees’ Pension) and Kokumin-Nenkin (国民年金, National Pension). Both are run by the government.

Employees’ Pension

If you are a full-time employee, you and your family can apply for Employees’ Pension. Your company will automatically deduct the premiums from your salary each month. 50% of the premiums will be paid by your company.

National Pension

Anyone over the age of 20 who is not employed by a company, such as students or freelancers, is required to enroll in National Pension. You will need to apply at your local municipal office.

When you leave Japan, you can claim a lump-sum withdrawal payment, but you must meet certain conditions in order to apply.

  • You do not have Japanese citizenship.
  • You have enrolled in the system for at least 6 months.
  • You must not be living in Japan.
  • You must not have received any benefits from the plan.

Employees should ask their company for details. English information and an application form for the National Pension withdrawal payment is available at your local municipal office. You should start the application within 2 years of leaving Japan. When your application is approved, the payment will be made to your bank account.

International social security agreements to avoid enrollment in the pension plans of 2 countries are in effect with Germany, the United Kingdom, South Korea, the United States, Belgium, France, Canada, Australia, Netherlands, Czech Republic, Spain, Ireland, Brazil, Switzerland, Hungary, India, Luxembourg, Philippines, Slovak, China, Finland, and Sweden. Generally, nationals who are posted to Japan for fewer than 5 years will not be required to enroll with the Japanese pension plans.

See also: Japan Pension Service website.

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