Understanding the Japanese Pension System

If you've been following The Japan Times Lifelines column, you may have seen my past few articles regarding the pension system in Japan. The system is by no means easy to understand and I've learned a lot about it in the past couple months, and while I never thought I would need to know all this, I can definitely say it is useful information to be aware of.

I've included links to the articles below for anyone curious about "totalization agreements", "kara kikan", and the lump-sum payment, among other things. And of course, I welcome any tips and advice from those who've had more experience with this system (to potentially include in future articles).

Japan pension answers often case-specific (April 19, 2011)
Is it possible to make back payments, and the 25-year pay-in rule.

Pension 'gap years' and missed payments (May 10, 2011)
Info about country totalization agreements and clarification about the back payments rule (didn't apply to JM in the first article).

Pension payout query: to leave it or lump it? (May 24, 2011)
Info about the lump-sum withdrawal, and whether it is a good idea to take or not. If you're in Japan for the short-term, you may want to read this.

Permanent residents, mind the 'gap years' in your pension payments (June 21, 2011)
Clarification about the whole "kara kikan" issue.

Finally, I need to give a big shout out to my husband, David, for all his help with the difficult research for the above articles. If you're on Twitter, definitely go chat with him! -> @DavidTJPN.

And, thanks to all of you for all the feedback, ideas, comments, suggestions and amazing support! It is greatly appreciated.

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