The National Pension is a public pension system that provides pension benefits to an insured person when he/she reaches a pension age - the age of 65 according to the current (2019) law or becomes disabled. Regardless of nationality, all registered residents of Japan aged 20 to 59 years are obliged to enroll in the National Pension System.
. ■Enrollment Procedures
［1］ If you are 20 years of age or older when you enter Japan:
After completing resident registration, you need to register/enroll at the municipal office or Japan Pension Service branch office of the area where you reside. Extra procedure is required if you are a student or cannot afford to pay the contributions.
［2］ If you are 19 years of age or younger when you enter Japan:
You will receive a “report of acquisition of qualifications for National Pension System” (KOKUMIN NENKIN HIHOKENSHA SHIKAKU SYUTOKU TODOKESYO) one month before you become 20 years old. You register/enroll at the municipal office. An extra procedure is required if you are a student or cannot afford to pay the contributions.
■What to Do If You Cannot Pay Contributions
There are contribution postponement and exemption systems. In principle, you need to make an application every year. (Depending on the amount of exemption, your application will be automatically renewed.)
(1) Regular/Matriculated International Students:
“Special Payment System for Students” for Matriculated (degree-seeking) International Students
This system allows you to postpone contribution payment by application. However, if your/your spouse’s income of preceding fiscal year (two years before if an application is made between January and June) exceeds the exemption limit, you may not be eligible.
(2) Non-Matriculated (non-degree seeking) International Students, such as International Research Students, etc.)
※Matriculated students are not eligible to apply for these systems.
［1］ About Exemption
If you have difficulty in paying the contributions due to financial reasons such as low income (of previous/two years before), you can apply for the “Exemption of the Contributions.” If your application for exemption is granted, you will be exempt from contribution payments. There are four types of exemptions depending on your situations: full-amount, 3/4-amount, half-amount, and 1/4-amount-exemption.
［2］ About Contribution Postponement System for Low Income Persons
If you are under 49 years (※) old and your/your spouse’s income is lower than a certain level, you can apply for this system. Your payment can be postponed if your application is granted.
(※) In July 2016, the age regulation changed from the age of 29 to 49.
■About Deferred Payment System for National Pension Contributions
If there are exemption and/or postponement periods, you can recover the past exempted/postponed contributions retroactively.
■Procedures Upon Graduation
(1) When Leaving Japan: “Lump-Sum Withdrawal Payment”
You can apply for the lump-sum withdrawal payment if you have the Japanese public pension coverage periods for 6 months or longer. Once you receive your payments, however, your coverage periods for the basis of the payments entitlement will no longer be valid to apply for other Japanese benefits. Therefore, you should carefully consider whether you claim for the lump-sum withdrawal payment or not, if you intend to be hired by a company in Japan in the future.
(2) When Hired in Japan
Your employer (e.g., company, laboratory, organization) is responsible for enrolling you in the social insurance system: e.g., KOSEI NENKIN (employees’ pension insurance), KYOSAI NENKIN (mutual aid associations), etc. You need to inform your employer of your “Basic Pension Number” (KISO NENKIN BANGO) for the enrollment procedure. If you have not been enrolled for the National Pension system while in the university, you need to register/enroll yourself at your local municipal (ward/city) office and you will be issued with your basic pension number.
(3) If Remain in University (as a student or change your status; eg. Research Student →Regular/Matriculated Student)
If you cannot afford to pay and wish to continue to use the special payment system for students, make an application every year.
■International Social Security Agreements with your home country (Totalization of coverage periods)
Under the agreement, you may be able to totalize the periods you paid contributions in Japan and in your home country. For details, check with the pension system of your home country.
※The agreements are subject to change and may contain additional terms. Obtain the most updated information.
・Japan Pension Service "Japan National Pension System (Multiple Languages)"
・Japan Pension System Brunch Office
・UTokyo Website “National Pension Plan” (Japanese)