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Kouseinenkin (a must for people leaving Japan)

GaijinPunch

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Hey cats:

I don't think this is common knowledge, so I figured I would post this info. Any foreigner that has paid into the Japanese Social Security plan (ナ津コツ青カ窶扼窶ケテ?) is able to get a portion of that back when they leave Japan. As my whole company moved, other people investigated and found out what I needed to do... my wife did most of the leg work. When in doubt, contact your local kuyakusho.

Anyways, it's not always a small amount. I haven't figured it out exactly, but I *THINK* it's about 40% of the total you paid. For simplicities sake, let's say you make 5 million yen a year for 10 years. Average payment for SS is roughly 8%. That's roughly 400,000 yen a year * 10 years = 4 million yen. If it's 40% of that, you'll get around 1.6 million yen back. Not a bad cookie, is it?

The only rule is that you HAVE to turn in your gaijin card. For those that kept it, thinking it would be a cool souvenir... you already screwed yourself. I left Japan after 7 years in October, and just got my payment in the bank yesterday, so drinks are on me this weekend!
 
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I had to keep my gaijin card because I owed city tax and didn't have enough ash on me upon leaving to pay it at the airport.
So told immigration I am coming back and got a re-entry permit.
Oh well, screwed myself. Ya get that.
 

GaijinPunch

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How did they know you owed at the airport? I owe a ton of tax still... still turned my card in w/o a problem. They're late fees are ridiculously low. I was late by like 3 or 4 years to pay my taxes once. What was 85,000 yen became 100,000. You can almost always make more money on an investment somewhere. :)
 

GaijinPunch

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No way. None of their systems are that up-to-date. One tax office doesn't know what you owe to another. I have heard that if it gets REALLY out of hand (like haven't paid for years) they might catch, but that would be on the way back in I think. On the way out, they just stamp your passport, take your card, and tell you either they hope you enjoyed your stay, or that you come back soon.
 

westsan

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Isnt there a cap of JUST 3 YEARS on that???

I think that is what I heard/read before.
 

GaijinPunch

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I don't think so. If it is though, they take your last three years and not your first. My first three years I probably paid like $300 into SS. :)

There is a multi-lingual form you can get from your kuyakusho. The English and the Japanese parts will lose any native speaker of those languages. I assume the other languages are even worse. As such, I can't really deny anything... only tell my own experience.
 

Mike Cash

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You receive back a maximum of 3 years worth of your contributions to the system. Figure a total roughly equalling 3 months of your salary. The payment will have 20% income tax deducted from it.

I took "advantage" of this before, in 1997. While I was happy to get the money (and ticked off at being taxed a flat 20% of it), I later came to regret it when I moved back to Japan a couple of years later. Why? Because I expect to be here until I retire and it pushes back by three years the number of years I have to contribute to be fully vested.

For those who don't know, if you contribute fewer than the required number of years (I believe it is 25 years), you receive back in nenkin payments upon retirement only an amount equalling your contributions. In other words, your pension payments could die a long time before you do.
 

GaijinPunch

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Well, I think that considering your pension as a "bonus" is a pretty good idea, since nobody knows how effed up the system will be by then. Japan's system isn't looking very pretty either (I assume this depends on your current age as well). If you're over 40 now, and just starting to pay into the nenkin system, then yeah... you might have to work a few more years, or spend some of your own money. Wouldn't you have some type of pension from your home country though, assuming you started paying really late?

I will find the very diluted explanation of the return I got. I'll be honest -- I wasn't sure at all what it said, but I also don't remember them mentioning three years in there either... your formula works out though, in terms of how much I got back.

EDIT: Here's the info I read.
For Category 1 insured persons, the payment amount granted is based on the aggregate of contribution payment months including months in the National Pension contribution payment period and periods corresponding to half months in the 50 percent contribution exemption period as tabled below.(snip)

6-11 months = 39,900
12-17 months = 79,800
18-23 months = 119,700
24-29 months = 159,600
30-35 months = 199,500
36+ months = 239,400

*payments are calculated by multiplying the average standard renumeration by the rates shown in the following table, according to the insured period.

Insured Period Rate
-------------- -----
6-11 months = 0.4
12-17 months = 0.8
18-23 months = 1.2
24-29 months = 1.6
30-35 months = 2.0
36+ months = 2.4

I see how a maximum of 3 years is applied, but I still don't see how they come up w/ the final number. I basically don't know what the "average standard remuneration" is.
 

westsan

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mikecash said:
ticked off at being taxed a flat 20% of it),
I later came to regret it
when I moved back to Japan
Because
if you contribute fewer than the required number of years (I believe it is 25 years),
Good point mike
 

GaijinPunch

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Yeah, but would really have not taken the three months worth back? Surely getting three months worth of social security back to invest in a way your deem necessary is worth more not taking it at all. Again, if you're near retirement this point is mute.
 

Mike Cash

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GaijinPunch said:
Yeah, but would really have not taken the three months worth back? Surely getting three months worth of social security back to invest in a way your deem necessary is worth more not taking it at all. Again, if you're near retirement this point is mute.

I had moved back to the U.S. and had no idea that about two years later I would be back here again, working and paying into the nenkin system.

As far as social security from the U.S. goes, I have spent such a tiny portion of my working life in the U.S. that I have paid practically nothing into it. A couple of years ago my parents forwarded me a letter from the Social Security Administration estimating/explaining my projected benefits. It was dismal. Let's just say that for all practical purposes, I will receive jacksquat from the U.S. social security system, even assuming it is solvent when I reach retirement age.
 

GaijinPunch

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Well.. I was well on that path as well. I'm 30 now, and have only paid into it for 4 months with a "real" job... everything before that was part-time while I was a student. Misery loves company I assume.

Since Japanese companies don't offer a 401k, I would highly recommend doing one. If you're annual income is below $95k USD (or $150k USD if married and filing jointly) you can get a Roth IRA account.
 

Mike Cash

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Setting up U.S.-based financial stuff when you don't actually live there is, as best I can tell, a real pain in the butt.
 

GaijinPunch

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Thanks to the patriot act stuff, yes... it sucks... donkeys even. I can't stress it enough though: Get as much of a financial history in the US as you can. What can it hurt? I'm sure you know the limitations of foreigners and credit in Japan (even though you get exempt from some when you're married) but I've just never seen ANYTHING like the US IRA accounts.

I will probably start another practical thread for those that moved to Japan just after graduation (like me). It's very hard to get your life going again in the case you do come back to the states.
 
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