Health and Pension in Japan      
Every person regardless of nationality, over 20 years old*,
@residing in Japan is required to be enrolled in an approved Japanese government Health Insurance Scheme and Pension fund.  Basically there are two systems:

* some short term visa holders may be exempt

Employees` Health Insurance and Pension (Shakai Hoken) for people who are employed at a registered company or at a workplace with more than 5 people if the workplace is not a registered company.

National Health Insurance (kokumin kenko hoken) and National Pension (kokumin nenkin) is for the unemployed, self employed and retired.  If you are not enrolled in Employeesf Health and Pension Insurance (Shakai Hoken) you are required to be enrolled in the national system.

Employeesf Health Insurance and Pension (Shakai Hoken)
Employeesf Health Insurance and Pension (herein Shakai Hoken) consists of two parts.  Employeesf Health Insurance (kenko hoken) and the Employeesf Pension fund (kousei nenkin).  They are a set.  The cost of Shakai Hoken is divided between the employee and employer, with both parties paying 50 percent.

Shakai Hoken is directly deducted from your salary.  The average Eikaiwa teacher with a gross salary of
\250,000 and a transport allowance of \15,000 would pay in total \29,234* per month.  This amount is automatically deducted from your salary and your employer also matches your contribution.                              

 *for an employee less than 40 years old

Average Monthly Salary 

Employeesf Health Insurance - (kenko hoken) aged less than 40.

Employeesf Pension (kousei nenkin)




(as of Sept, 2006)


What does Shakai Hoken cover?

Health Insurance (Kenko Hoken)

Medical, drug and dental costs.  70% of medical costs are covered.  There is also a safety net so that medical costs donft exceed \80,100 a month.

Injury or sickness resulting in a loss of wages.  60% of lost wages due to sickness or injury for up to one and a half years.  There is a one and a half year limit to claiming this for any one illness.  This is NOT covered under National Health Insurance (Kokumin Kenko Hoken).

Childbirth.  \350,000 is paid after the birth of each child.

Maternity Leave.  When you take this leave, you are eligible for 60% of your wages for 42 days prior to birth and 56 days after the birth.  This is also NOT available from National Health Insurance (Kokumin Kenko Hoken).

Death.  A lump sum will be paid to the person taking care of the funeral arrangements.  Also, \100,000 is paid in the case of a dependent.

Pension Insurance (Kosei Nenkin)

Pension.  After having paid into the pension system for 25 years, the insured person, after reaching 65 years of age will be eligible for a pension until their death.  The 25 year period of payments is not always truly 25 years.  Kara kikan (which counts your years outside of Japan) affects your right to receive a Japanese pension without 25 years of payment, if you are granted permanent residency before you reach 65.

Death.  A survivor`s pension is paid to surviving dependents.  Example, a surviving spouse with one child would receive \1,035,600 per year.

Disability  If you are not able to work due to disability, you will receive either the Disability Employee`s Pension or the Disability Allowance.  Class one disability: \1,005,300 per year.  Class two disability:\804,200 per year.


Lump Sum Withdrawal (Daitai Ichijikin)

An employee who does not possess Japanese citizenship, and is enrolled in Shakai Hoken for 6 months or more may be eligible for a refund of their pension contributions.  The refund varies on the length of time a person is enrolled.

The rebate is calculated by taking your average monthly remuneration over the period enrolled and multiplying it by the benefit rate.  See the following table.


Period of Contribution

Your final month of contribution is August 2005 or before

Your final month of contribution is between September 2005 and August 2006

6-11 months



12-17 months



18-23 months



24-29 months



30-35 months



36 months



For example: Lisa resigned in August 2005 after being enrolled in Shakai Hoken for 18 months. Her average monthly Shakai Hoken income bracket is \260,000.  Lisa is eligible for a \312,000 refund*.

 Marie-Anne contributed to Shakai Hoken for 36 months until May 2006.  Her average monthly gross salary for Shakai Hoken purposes was \260,000.  Marie-Anne is eligible for a \650,000 refund*.

*A refundable 20% withholding tax will be deducted from this refund.