have your say

How well do you understand the pension system in Japan? For example, do you know how to calculate how much you will receive if/when you leave Japan?


©2022 GPlusMedia Inc.

Login to comment

Well, my wife and kids are Japanese and we just bought a house here so I don't see myself going anywhere

0 ( +5 / -5 )

I regularly check my forecasted Japanese pension and UK pension online. With the house paid off, I can live on just these alone in retirement. I am due about 120,000 per month from each. For UK people, class 2 NI contributions are the best!

0 ( +3 / -3 )

My J-wife asked the J-advisor at the pension place about her pension. The advisor started with, in Japanese of course, “Well, it’s difficult.”

They talked for about 15 minutes. Wife was completely at a loss. I picked up a pamphlet and asked if this would explain it.

The advisor said, “Even with that, it’s not easy to understand.”

So, to answer your question: Not at all.

11 ( +12 / -1 )

When I came to Japan, if you paid into the Japanese pension fund then later returned to your own country, you would forfeit everything you had paid so I never joined it.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Got a big state pension and a big company one coming (I've been at the company for 30+ years) so I'll be fine. Housing loan was paid off two years ago and kids are all through college and now working. Sweet.

5 ( +8 / -3 )

As of 2019, the maximum annual payment is limited to ¥780,100 (approximately ¥65,000 per month), which assumes that you have contributed to the system for the full 40 years.

This is for kokumin-nenkin, not kousei-nenkin.

The former sucks. It is for self-employed people and people whose company doesn't offer them kousei-nenkin.

The latter sucks not so much. Myself and the above poster have the latter. Full contribution of kousei-nenkin gets you about 120,000 per month in retirement; more if you postpone until 70.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

exactly as borscht said - Even after three decades here and acquiring citizenship two decades ago, no one is ever able to explain exactly how the pension system works (not what is written on the pamphlet), exactly how much one gets for a certain number of years of pay, what it entails in terms of taxes, and other things.

You want numbers? No one knows exactly and it usually starts with someone saying "You know, it's pretty complicated...". Then they usually read what you can read yourself, or some learned phrases from training. You don't learn anything new, so you usually end up with a pile of other leaflets and possibly some contact to another person... ...who knows as much as the last person.

And it doesn't matter whether you ask the ward office (or any office) or some private consultant - you never really learn anything, except what you already know from the leaflets, which say nothing.

And even native Japanese don't know. I also know from my wife's side of the family that they just end up getting a pension, but whether it's calculated correctly or not, nobody knows.

Now imagine, for example, the basic question of what would happen if I moved to a country in the EU with which we have bilateral relations and a pension situation - absolutely nobody here knows. Some vaguely suspect that it is possible, but most believe that it cannot be done.

The pension system here is an opaque black hole for money. The pension system has been revised in some way so many times that I can't even count.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

Even after three decades here and acquiring citizenship two decades ago, no one is ever able to explain exactly how the pension system works

You get a login ID and password issued from here:


It is very easy (as long as you can read Japanese). Then, you can log in anytime and see your pension record and your projected payout. It is very easy and straightforward. I have zero understanding of people who throw up their hands and say "Oh, it's so difficult and opaque!". Any questions about the pension can also be answered here from the Q&A or by contacting them directly.

absolutely nobody here knows.

This is just nonsense.

8 ( +10 / -2 )

My wife tells me that some Japanese friends of hers do collect their pensions abroad. They have a link to a foreign bank set up from their J bank account. This pre-supposes that you have a bank account here in Japan.

One problem is that once a year a letter is sent to your Japanese address asking about family exemptions, or this, that or the other, in effect a check to make sure you are still alive, I guess.

One year I was abroad in Jan, Feb, March and had missed answering this letter, after which my pension was actually stopped, until I went through the process of reactivating it sometime in April...(?) My wife thinks that such letters can also be directed to an address abroad.

My feeling is that if you do return to another country in retirement, such details will need to be set up first, and maybe it would be advisable to keep a Japanese banking account active (technically illegal?) and to continue to visit every so often...(?)

4 ( +4 / -0 )

PS The Kosei-nenkin is a great thing to have but a bare minimum for living in Japan, and absolutely insufficient for living in a European capital city for example. It was far less than I had been told to expect when I was working. My daughter asked me recently if I am able to live within my pension, and I could only reply "I try". Actually for me it is not, without savings or supplemental income.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Getting your pension paid overseas usually isnt a problem, you can find a list of countries that are available. If not, keep a bank account here and then transfer overseas.

I think there is also a 10 Year Rule- you need to contribute for at least 10 years before you can collect. BUT, many countries have a pension agreement with Japan that includes time overseas in the 10 year limit. You get credit for the time, not the contribution.

Used to be the only option was to get a refund of pension dues paid when you leave Japan. But that only covers 3 years of contributions max. JET teachers did this all the time 'back in the day'. For most of us, better to keep paying and get something at the end.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Almost not at all, of course…How about first a little bit journalistically explaining it to us readers and then put such a question?

1 ( +2 / -1 )

I think there is also a 10 Year Rule- you need to contribute for at least 10 years before you can collect.

That's very recent, isn't it? Made official around the same time as the consumption tax increase?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The muppets at the city hall and the pension offices can never explain anything logically AND NEVER EVER exchange information between the agencies/branches involved so... I still don't understand it. This is one of the reasons I'm contemplating leaving Japan within the next 10 months.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

The MyNumber system ostensibly will allow Shiyakusho town office and pension office to share information concerning pension contributions, but change does happen slowly...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Why don't you save and make your own pension for yourself. It's so easy.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

> David BrentDec. 7  11:04 am JST

Even after three decades here and acquiring citizenship two decades ago, no one is ever able to explain exactly how the pension system works

You get a login ID and password issued from here:

Yes, but you're talking about a situation where you're already receiving a pension.

I'm talking about the fact that nobody can answer you exactly how it is calculated, the effect on paying taxes, tax deductions, the possibility of transferring it to another country. No one simply knows how it works and attempts to explain it are always "you know, it's complicated". So everyone is happy to get something in the end. But are they getting the right kind of benefit? Nobody knows. What is the formula used to calculate this? No one can tell you exactly and for sure. The effect of inflation? Atp, etc. What I've given are just examples.

Any questions about the pension can also be answered here from the Q&A or by contacting them directly.

No, only the questions that everyone knows the answer to. Those are in the Q&A.

If you ask them, everyone will give you a different answer. And then if you ask in person somewhere in the office, then the staff will tell you it's because of "a different interpretation of the situation by the previous staff".

However, if you are happy to receive a pension and you don't care if you get the right amount, then that's fine, to each his own.

Every few years, with some reform or minor reform, they promise to make the pension system simpler and leaner. So they hire more staff and, as a result, make it even more complicated and messy with loops and dead ends. The pension system here is a complete chaos and an unbelievable mess. But at least it keeps people busy and employed

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Well, I do receive the blue sheet thingy in my mailbox from the pension organization every, well, not-so-sure (quarter maybe? half-yearly maybe?) and it tells me how much I "should" get from 65 years onwards if I contribute until the age 60(I think?). (Sorry, I can't find the latest one).

Still, I intended to ask at the Shiyakusho for a confirmation of the amount one of these days as the 年金機構 is simply too often in the news, mostly for blunders (e.g. they pay too much to some, pay too less to all, seemingly lost huge amounts (消えた年金 incidents which they already had 2 as far as I remember), here's the detail on the first one (2007):


Frankly, the pension organization in Japan looks more like a dumpster fire than anything else which is far from being reassuring if like a few people here you intend to stay...

Of course, this does not include the J-gov's tiptoeing around the health and pension issues and what seems to be their constant fiddling with it, which is the most likely reason that in Japan everybody is "concerned" about them...

Oh yeah, icing on the cake, I already had twice their outsourced vendor in charge of cashing in payments by workers (?) / following-up on truant payers (?) calling me that telling me that I was truant on 2 separate occasions (I did pay on both and had to clear that mess through the shiyakusho as they didn't even want to accept the scans of my receipts!) and when googling that company (バックスグループ) it came out that they were literally thousands of complaints about these guys with the general consensus that the vendor was more than "shady" and should be investigated.

Long story short:

.the "regular" notifications seem to be random more than anything else

.while the notification tells me a sum (with conditions attached which is fair enough), they do not explain the calculation method, hence I can not confirm accuracy either way

.the pension organization seems to be more than shoddy and...

...seems to be in cahoot with a more-than-shady vendor

Is all of the above reassuring? No, not really...

To be frank, I put the pension payment-scheme in the same bag as the tax-code, a convoluted mess most likely kept opaque on purpose, so as a receiver you are never sure how much is being taken from you whenever you receive something...

-1 ( +0 / -1 )


The MyNumber system ostensibly will allow Shiyakusho town office and pension office to share information concerning pension contributions, but change does happen slowly...

Not only that, but also to have China have a peek at your pension-data as it came out that the pension organization ended up leaking 5 Mio man-data to a Chinese company on mainland China.


Don't worry, the pension organization is not the only one. The Tax agency had the same problem (inland in Japan not out to China) for 700K man-data.


-1 ( +0 / -1 )

I asked three different departments in my company to explain how much pension I will receive, including the accounting department, and no-one had a clear idea. Just keep your head down and hope for the best, hey? Or assume you will get nothing, and start investing some of your salary every month.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I have one more year of payments in Japan to make the 10 years to qualify for the minimum pension. I will stop paying at that point. The returns are pitiful. Never wanted to join but they got me! Will get about ¥16,000 a month beer money from it. Also a full inflation linked UK pension and better still an exceedingly good trust fund!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

My buddy left Japan and left in charge of collecting the pension and sending it to him just a year ago...

Well. He left the country, notified the city hall he was leaving (moving out). Filled all the necessary paperwork, paid his taxes and the city knows he left me to collect and send the money.

Two months later I start receiving on my mailbox, for my buddie to rejoin the pension in Japan. But he left. Then I keep getting more forms so he rejoins.

Then after that, even tho he left and the city knows it, I start getting his payment slips. I called the city hall but they redirected me to the pension offices in Hachioji. I call them there but they redirect somewhere, where they tell me I can get the info on their official website. I called again cause the info I need is not on their website and then they mention to just ignore the payment slips. So I did.

Buuuut two weeks ago I get a notice on the mail, threatening that if the person (that doesn't live in Japan anymore) doesn't start paying what he "owes," when he starts claiming the pension at retirement age, he'll get 2man yen less every month.

And wanna know what the cherry on top is? My buddy already got his money from the pension, deposited by the J-government into his foreign bank account, two or three months ago.

2 ( +2 / -0 )


Same here.

(Gaijin) Friend left Japan in December 2020 and did everything at the Kuyakusho. (He intends to come back after an assignment overseas, so pension money is still here).

2 months later I receive (on his behalf his mail for a one-year period) a notice that "being unemployed"(!) he has to rejoin the public pension fund(!). I tell him and he contacts the Kuyakusho and get them to process everything once again from abroad.

In summer I did get a threatening notice (same as the one you received, threatening to cut pension payments). Luckily, he had to come to Japan around that time and got the Kuyakusho to process it a third time. This time it seems it's ok. (Anyway, I think the one-period of mail re-routing is anyway over, so...)

In a nutshell, this is バックスグループ at work. Inept, tone-deaf (talking to them is hopeless, going through the Shiyakusho/Kuyakusho is the only way and they seemed to be "well-known" by public servants if you get my drift) and threatening. Essentially a shady outsourced service vendor paid for by our tax-money, pretty much like the bunch retrieving the NHK-fee.

Frankly, when I had to deal with them myself I started to wonder if they were not paid some kind of "bounty" on the truant amounts they manage to get back as they were the most unhelpful bunch I ever met, so much that I started to feel that they looked inept/uncooperative "on purpose"...

1 ( +2 / -1 )

The Japanese pension system is going to collapse in 30-40 years time. Foreigners will be the first to suffer the wrath of this followed by the Japanese. Don’t rely on the Japanese pension system alone for your old age and save up now!!!

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Login to leave a comment

Facebook users

Use your Facebook account to login or register with JapanToday. By doing so, you will also receive an email inviting you to receive our news alerts.

Facebook Connect

Login with your JapanToday account

User registration

Articles, Offers & Useful Resources

A mix of what's trending on our other sites