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National Pension System

100-517-268-995 Last updated date:8 1 2017

The National Pension is a public pension system participated by all persons aged 20 to 59 years who have an address in Japan, which provides benefits called the “Basic Pension” due to old age, disability, or death.

National Pension System

Coverage

Compulsory Coverage

All registered residents of Japan aged 20 to 59 years must be covered by the National Pension system. The insured are categorized according to their status as follows:

Category Ⅰ insured persons:
All registered residents of Japan aged 20 to 59 years who are not Category II or III insured persons (agriculture, forestry, or fishery business operators, self-employed persons, students, etc.)
Category Ⅱ insured persons:
Persons enrolled in the Employees’ Pension Insurance system or Mutual Aid Associations (except for persons aged 65 to 69 years who are eligible to receive a pension due to old age or retirement)
Category Ⅲ insured persons:
Category II insured person’s dependent spouses aged 20 to 59 years

How to Enroll in the System and Register yourself under each Category

When you become subject to the Category I insured person, you need to register yourself at your Municipal Office within 14 days, by submitting the “Application to Enroll in National Pension as Category I Insured Person” (SHIKAKU SHUTOKU / SHUBETSU HENKO TODOKESHO – ICHIGO HIHOKENSHA).
When you become subject to the Category II insured person, your employer needs to enroll you in the Employees’ Pension Insurance or the Mutual Aid Associations. Within the procedure you are automatically enrolled in the National Pension, so you do not need to take extra procedure.
When you become a Category III insured person, have your spouse’s employer, etc. register you at the Japan Pension Service Branch Office (JPS Branch Office) that covers your spouse's company within 14 days, by submitting the "Application to Enroll in National Pension as Category Ⅲ Insured Persons" (KOKUMIN NENKIN : SANGO HIHOKENSHA SHIKAKU SHUTOKU / SHUBETSU HENKO TODOKESHO).

Voluntary Coverage

The following persons can enroll in the National Pension system on a voluntary basis;
(1) Resistered residents of Japan aged 60 to 64 years
(2) Japanese citizens aged 20 to 64 years who reside in a foreign country
(3) Persons born on or before April 1, 1965, aged 65 to 69 years who have not satisfied the minimum qualification period

How to Enroll for Voluntary Coverage

If you are subject to (1),(3) above, and wish to enroll voluntarily, you need to apply for enrollment at the Municipal Office where you reside. If you are subject to (2) above, you need to apply for enrollment at the JPS Branch Office in charge of your latest residence in Japan. If you have never resided in Japan, you need to apply at the JPS Chiyoda Branch Office, Tokyo.

Contributions

The contribution amount for the National Pension is \16,490/month (for the fiscal year 2017)

Payment of the Contributions

Pay the contributions at a bank, post office, or convenience store using the payment notices sent to you by the Japan Pension Service. You may take advantage of a discount by opting for advance payment through automatic bank remittance, credit card payment, etc.

Exemption of the Contributions

You can apply for the exemption from contribution payments if you satisfy certain conditions specified by law, specifically, if you are receiving the Disability Basic Pension or the Public Assistance under the Livelihood Protection Act. You may also be exempt from contribution payments if the previous year's income of you/your spouse/your home owner is low, and if your application for exemption is granted. The type of exemption is as follows: full-amount-exemption,3/4-amount-exemption (monthly contributions payable: \4,120(for the fiscal year 2017)), half-amount-exemption (monthly contributions payable: \8,250(for the fiscal year 2017)) and 1/4-amount-exemption (monthly contributions payable: \12,370(for the fiscal year 2017)).
For the purpose of calculation of your pension benefits, your periods of full-amount -exemption for March 2009 and earlier will count as one-third of full-contribution-paid periods (the 3/4-amount-exemption periods will count as half, the half-amount -exemption periods as two-thirds and the 1/4-amount-exemption periods as five-sixths). Your periods of full-amount-exemption for April 2009 and later will count as half of full-contribution-paid periods (the 3/4-amount-exemption periods will count as five-eighths, the half-amount exemption periods as three-fourths and the 1/4-amount -exemption periods as seven-eighths).
If you fail to pay the due remaining contribution amount during the granted period, however, it will be considered to be non-payment rather than partial exemption.

How to Apply for Exemption

To establish the exemption, you need to apply at the Municipal Office where you reside and register. You need to apply for the exemption every year.

Recovery of the Past Exempted-Contribution

You may retroactively make payments for past contribution-exempted periods for up to the past 10 years. Please note that a specific index will be imposed on your past contribution amount when you recover the payments. That is, if you were granted the contribution exemption in a certain fiscal year (April to March) and if you wish to recover the contribution three or more fiscal years later, your old contribution amount is indexed by certain rate according to the age of the due contribution.

How to Recover the Exempted Contribution

For retroactive payments, please contact your nearest JPS Branch Office.

Special Payment System for Students

If you are a student and your income is less than a certain amount, you may be allowed to postpone contribution payment if your application is approved.
This granted period protects you just as the regular coverage periods do. So, if you become disabled or die during this granted period, the Disability Basic Pension or the Survivors' Basic Pension will be provided if you satisfy the following conditions;
(1) By the second month preceding the month of your accident, etc., your non-payment period (months) does not exceed one-third of your months of full coverage.
or
(2) You paid your contributions for the last 12 months up to the second month preceding the month of your accident, etc.
This granted periods count as qualifying periods for the Old-age Basic Pension, however, unless you recover contribution payments afterwards, the periods will not be reflected to the old-age benefit amount.
You can retroactively pay the postponed contribution in the same way as the "Recovery of the Past Exempted-Contribution" above.

How to Apply for Special Payment System for Students

To establish the exemption, you need to apply at the Municipal Office where you reside and register. The application form is available at the Municipal Offices or the JPS Branch Offices.

Contribution Postponement System for Low Income Persons

If you are aged under 50 and your/your spouse's income is lower than a certain level, this system allows you to postpone your contribution payments. It aims to protect persons who are not granted contribution exemption, from failing to qualify for benefits in later life. To establish your postponement, your application needs to be granted.
If you become disabled or die during this granted periods, the Disability Basic Pension or the Survivors' Basic Pension will be provided if you satisfy the same conditions mentioned in "Special Payment System for Students" above.
This granted periods count as qualifying periods for the Old-age Basic Pension, however, unless you recover contribution payment afterwards, the periods will not be reflected to the old-age benefit amount.
You can apply for postponement system or retroactively pay the postponed contribution in the same way mentioned in "Exemption of the Contributions" and "Recovery of the Past Exempted-Contribution" above.

Deferred payment system for National Pension contributions

The payment period for National Pension contributions expires in two years from the original due date, preventing you from making payment. Any contribution due and unpaid in the past 5 years that could not be paid due to expiration of the payment period, however, may now be paid only during the three years between October 1, 2015, and September 30, 2018 (deferred payment system).
This deferred payment system may allow you to increase the amount of your pension benefits or become eligible for pension benefits if you have not been eligible in the past.
See here for more details of the deferred payment system.

Benefits

Old-age Basic Pension

You can receive the Old-age Basic Pension at the age of 65 if you have been covered under the National Pension and Employees' Pension Insurance systems. To be qualified, your total coverage periods* need to be 10 years or more.
* Your total coverage periods include your contribution-paid periods as well as your contribution-exempted periods as a Category Ⅰ, Category Ⅱ or Category Ⅲ insured person.

Benefit Amount

¥779,300/ year (full benefit amount based on 40 years of fully contributed coverage periods)

If you have coverage periods for which you failed to pay or your contribution was exempted, the amount is;
¥779,300x ( (1) + (2) + (3) + (4) + (5) ) / 40 years * × 12
(1) Number of contribution-paid months (no exemption)
(2) Number of full contribution-exempted months** × 1/3
(3) Number of three-quarter contribution-exempted months** × 1/2
(4) Number of half contribution-exempted months** × 2/3
(5) Number of one-quarter contribution-exempted months** × 5/6
* Shorter for some people, depending on date of birth
** Depending on your income or according to the National Pension Act, you may be granted an exemption of full- or partial- amount of contribution payment.

If your contribution is exempted in April 2009 and later, please apply the formula below;
(2) Number of full contribution-exempted months × 1/2
(3) Number of three-quarter contribution-exempted months × 5/8
(4) Number of half contribution-exempted months × 3/4
(5) Number of one-quarter contribution-exempted months × 7/8

How to Claim Your Old-age Basic Pension

To claim your benefit, you need to file the “Application for Pension : Old-age Benefits under National Pension / Employees’ Pension Insurance” (NENKIN SEIKYUSHO : KOKUMIN NENKIN / KOSEI NENKIN HOKEN ROREI KYUFU) at your nearest JPS Branch Office or Pension Consultation Center (PCC). You need to attach your Pension Handbook and a certified extract copy of your Family Registry. Please ask at the JPS Branch Office for the details of documents of evidence you need to submit.

Option of “Early Payment” or “Delayed Payment”

The pensionable age for the Old-age Basic Pension is 65 in principle. However, you may opt to receive pension at whatever age after 60. The pension amount is adjusted depending on the age you start to receive your pension. You may opt to receive reduced amount of pension before age 65, or you may opt to receive increased amount after age 65. Specifically, your early pension amount receivable at the age of 60 is 70 % of that for age 65 and your delayed pension amount receivable from the age of 70 or older is 142 %.
Please note that once you start receiving your payment, the receivable rate will not change for the rest of your life. Please also note that if you apply for early payment of the Old-age Basic Pension, you may not apply for the Disability Basic Pension.

How to Apply for the "Early Payment" or "Delayed Payment"

Early Payment

If you opt for the early payment of your Old-Age Basic Pension, you need to file the "Application for Early Payment of Old-Age Basic Pension under National Pension" (KOKUMIN NENKIN : ROREI KISO NENKIN SHIKYU KURIAGE SEIKYUSHO) at your nearest JPS Branch Office or PCC. If you are currently receiving your specially-provided Old-age Employees' Pension, you need to submit Application for Early Payment of Old-Age Basic Pension for Beneficiary of Specially-provided Old-age Employees' Pension under National Pension / Employees' Pension Insurance" (KOKUMIN NENKIN / KOSEI NENKIN HOKEN : TOKUBETSU SHIKYUNO ROREI KOSEI NENKIN JUKYUKENSHA ROREI KISO NENKIN SHIKYU KURIAGE SEIKYUSHO) to the Offices.

Delayed Payment

If you opt for the delayed payment of your Old-Age Basic Pension, you need to file the "Application for Delayed Payment of Old-Age Basic Pension under National Pension / Old-age Employees’ Pension under Employees’ Pension Insurance" (KOKUMIN NENKIN - ROREI KISO NENKIN / KOSEI NENKIN HOKEN - ROREI KOSEI NENKIN : SHIKYU KURISAGE MOSHIDESHO) at your nearest JPS Branch Office or the PCC.
If you are already receiving your specially-provided Old-age Employees’ Pension, you need to submit "Application for Delayed Payment of Old-Age Basic / Employees’ Pension under National Pension / Employees’ Pension Insurance)" (KOKUMIN NENKIN / KOSEI NENKIN HOKEN : ROREI KISO / KOSEI NENKIN - SHIKYU KURISAGE SEIKYUSHO) to the Offices.

Additional Pension Plan

There is an extra voluntary plan to pay a small additional benefit to your Old-age Basic Pension. If you opt for this plan and pay the contribution of ¥400 / month, you can receive additional benefit, which is subject to early / delayed payment option. However, this contribution is not subject to the Lump-sum Withdrawal Payments.

Benefit Amount

Annual amount = ¥200 × Number of month to which you paid the Additional Contribution

Disability Basic Pension

You can receive the Disability Basic Pension when you have a certain level of disability specified by law. To be eligible, you must be covered by the National Pension Insurance system on the date of your first medical examination on the sickness or injury which caused above-mentioned disability.
In addition to disability requirement, as of the previous day of the date of your first medical examination, your contribution-paid periods and contribution-exempted periods need to be more than two thirds of your total coverage periods up to two months prior to your first medical examination month. If the date of your first medical examination is before March 2026, you need to satisfy the above-mentioned requirements or to fill the preceding one year with the contribution-paid or contribution-exempted periods.

Benefit Amount

Grade 1 Disability Basic Pension: ¥974,125/ year
Grade 2 Disability Basic Pension: ¥779,300 / year
Additional annual benefits are paid as follows for your eligible dependent child(ren) under age 18 (20 if with certain grade of disability specified by law). The benefit is paid until the first March 31 after the child becomes age 18.
¥224,300 each for your first and second child
¥74,800 each for your third and subsequent child

How to Claim Your Disability Basic Pension

To claim your Disability Basic Pension, you need to file the "Application for Pension : Disability Basic Pension under National Pension" (NENKIN SEIKYUSHO : KOKUMIN NENKIN - SHOGAI KISO NENKIN) at your nearest JPS Branch Office or PCC. You need to attach your Pension Handbook, a certified extract copy of your Family Registry, the certificate of diagnoses issued by your doctor, your X-ray film if necessary, as well as your report on your medical history and on how your disability affect your work / everyday life. Please contact the JPS Branch Offices for the details of your necessary documents of evidence.
If you had your first medial examination on your disability before you become 20 years old, or if you are aged over 60 but under 65 and living in Japan, you need to file the Application to your Municipal Office, instead of the JPS Branch Offices.

Survivors' Basic Pension

If an insured person dies while contributing to the National Pension, the spouse of the deceased who takes care of his/her dependent child(ren) or those dependent child(ren) may receive the Survivors’ Basic Pension. An eligible child must be aged 18 or under (until first March 31 after his/her 18th birthday) or aged 20 if he/she has a certain grade of disability specified by law. To satisfy contribution requirements, the total period in which the insured person had paid contributions and been exempt from payment until two months prior to his/her death, as of the day before his/her death, must exceed two-thirds of his/her total coverage period. If the date of the insured person’s death is before March 2026, he/she must satisfy the requirements above or have no delinquency during the preceding year.

Benefit Amount

<Survivors’ Basic Pension for the spouse of the deceased who takes care of one child>
¥1,003,600 /year (¥779,300+¥224,300(additional annual benefits for the first child))
Additional annual benefits for the second and subsequent child are as follows;
¥224,300 each for the second child
¥74,800 each for the third and subsequent child
<Survivors' Basic Pension for the only child>
¥779,300 /year (basic amount)

If there are two eligible children, ¥224,300 is added to this basic amount and the total amount is divided evenly between the two. For the third or subsequent eligible child, further ¥74,800 is added for each child and the grand benefit total is equally shared among all children.

How to Claim Your Survivors' Basic Pension

To claim your Survivors’ Basic Pension, you need to file the “Application for Pension : Survivors’ Basic Pension under National Pension” (NENKIN SEIKYUSHO : KOKUMIN NENKIN – IZOKU KISO NENKIN) at your nearest JPS Branch Office or PCC. You need to attach the deceased person’s Pension Handbook, a certified copy of his/her Family Registry, and the medical certificate of his/her death issued by the doctor. Please contact the JPS Branch Office for the details of the necessary documents of evidence. If the deceased person has the coverage period only as a Category I insured person, or only as a Category III insured person, not the mix of I or III or any other, the Application need to be filed at the Municipal Office where you reside, instead of JPS Branch Offices.

Widow's Pension

If your husband dies after contributing for at least 10 years as the Category Ⅰ insured person and if he has not yet received old-age pension, you can receive the Widow’s Pension while you are aged over 60 but under 65. You are qualified if you have been married to him for at least 10 years and you are financially supported by him at the time of his death.

Benefit Amount

Equivalent to your late husband's unpaid Old-age Basic Pension (portion for the Category Ⅰ insured periods) x 3/4

How to Claim Your Widow's Pension

To claim your Widow's Pension, you need to file the "Application for Pension : Widow's Pension under National Pension" (NENKIN SEIKYUSHO : KOKUMIN NENKIN - KAFU NENKIN) at the Municipal Office where you reside. You need to attach your deceased husband's Pension Handbook, a certified extract copy of your (his) Family Registry, and a certified copy of your (his) Resident Registry. Please contact the JPS Branch Office for the details of your necessary documents of evidence.

Lump-sum Death Benefit

If an insured person dies without receiving any pension benefits, and if his/her total contribution-paid month as a Category Ⅰ insured person add to at least 36 months*, any family member who shared the livelihood with him/her can receive the Lump-sum Death Benefit.
* If you have contribution exemption periods, we count 3/4 of your coverage periods (months) exempt from 3/4 contribution payment, half of your coverage periods (months) exempt from half contribution payment, and 1/4 of your coverage periods (months) exempt from 1/4 contribution payment.

Benefit Amount

¥120,000 - ¥320,000 / year depending on the contribution-paid periods of the deceased person

How to Claim Your Lump-sum Death Benefit

To claim your benefit, you need to file the “Application for Lump-sum Death Benefit” (SHIBO ICHIJIKIN - SAITEI SEIKYUSHO) at your Municipal Office. You need to attach the deceased person’s Pension Handbook, a certified extract copy of your (his/her) Family Registry, and a certified copy of your (his/her) Resident Registry. Please contact the JPS Branch Office for the details of your necessary documents of evidence.

Lump-sum Withdrawal Payments (Exclusively for Non-Japanese Citizens)

If you are not a Japanese citizen and you had resided in Japan and had been covered by the Japanese system for a short time, you can claim the Payments within two years after your departure from Japan. You can claim the Payments if you have at least 6 months of due coverage periods under the National Pension system (contribution-exempted periods are proportionally calculated) and you are not eligible for pension benefits.
Please refer to the "Lump-sum Withdrawal Payments" details / application form in English, Chinese, Korean, Portuguese, Spanish, Indonesian, Pilipino, Thai and Vietnamese.

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