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National Health Insurance debt

Am I in big trouble?

  • Yes

    Votes: 3 42.9%
  • No

    Votes: 4 57.1%

  • Total voters
    7

Ains

Kouhai
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Hello. My name is Ains and I have amassed a debt of over 500 000yen in health insurance during my time in Japan. Before, everyone judges me and says I am a deadbeat or something like that, please let me assure you that I am a good person and there is reason for this. When I came here it was to get away from a family job that was quite simply driving me mad. My family has a building company and each member of my family is covered by my families HI plan in our home country. No matter where we are. For this reason, I paid my health insurance for my first year in Japan and was not told anything about the huge increase that would occur which I simply cannot afford.
I have started paying off the debt bit by bit..... in order to pay it off it would take years upon years.
Due to family reasons at home, I sadly feel my time in Japan is up. With this outstanding debt, I am worried about how this will affect my last months in Japan and the last few weeks when I have to sort things out at the city office.
In an already tough time, I would appreciate any advice on what lies ahead.
I know that I have made mistakes, as we all do as humans. However, I wish to know the consequences of this as nobody i know seems willing or able to help.

Ains
 

Ains

Kouhai
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I have always payed my city tax. sorry I forgot to mention that
 

Mike Cash

骨も命も皆此の土地に埋めよう
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How many years did it take to create this debt?
 

Mike Cash

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You paid the tiny premiums on the first year. Then when the premium went up to about 10,000 yen per month you just decided you weren't going to pay it, right? Be honest.
 

Ains

Kouhai
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yes. though i have started paying again. I was ill advised to be fair and they gave me a three year visa so I didnt realize the extent of the damage. I was not told by my employer. I have no problem admitting I should have paid but I just want to know what will happen from now on...... thanks for the reply
 

Majestic

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Do you have any documentation or other evidence to show you continued to pay health insurance premiums back home (or, that you continued to be covered by your family's insurance back home)?

I'm not saying that proof of overseas payment is in any way a substitute for taking care of your obligations here in Japan, but pleading ignorance, showing you were covered under an overseas plan, and being extremely contrite when you talk to the authorities here might buy you a little sympathy.
 

Ains

Kouhai
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I could get it sure but i am just worried about what will happen when i leave in terms of paying back. I have heard that I will only have to pay back the huge debt if i come back.

Hopefully knowing that I have started paying again will help my cause
 

Mike Cash

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You need to make sure you tell them you're leaving. Otherwise you'll still be considered responsible for premiums accrued after you leave.

You need to go talk to them.
 

Ains

Kouhai
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Yeah, i know. cheers.
Will i be able to leave without major trouble??
 

Glenski

Just me
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Mike: when the premium went up to about 10,000 yen per month you just decided you weren't going to pay it, right? Be honest.
You: Yes.
Mike: How many years did it take to create this debt?
You:
4

So, you don't want us to call you a deadbeat after this admission? (And you didn't come to this forum or go to city hall sooner for what reason?)

You had an employer, so it's not like you were here without an income. Even with minimal salary of 200,000 per month, it's possible to pay health insurance because the amount is dependent on salary. I have serious doubts that you didn't have enough income to afford this. My employer never forewarned me ages ago, but I sucked it up on 250,000 / month and paid what I owed. I still had enough left over to save money. Perhaps you are living above your means. Would be nice to know.

i have started paying again.
Good. That will work in your favor. I've had friends who got behind in their payments and were able to make a friendly arrangement to pay off in installments. Do the math on your income and outgo, go in and take a translator if need be, but let them know what you intend. A true deadbeat will just try sneaking out without paying.
 

Majestic

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Will i be able to leave without major trouble??
None of us can answer that question. Your fate is in the hands of a sometimes unpredictable bureaucracy. My experience is that if you are humble and acknowledge the mistake, and if you had a legitimate reason for not doing what is expected (and, in your case, required by law) the authorities will show some lenience.
 

Transformer5

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They can't stop you leaving.

I had an NI debt several years ago and left Japan. I'd been paying the monthly instalments, but still had the following 6 months or so of payments to make when I left (maybe about 150,000-yen), which you're supposed to pay off before you leave. I went to my city office and explained that I didn't have the money to pay it.

I still had 2 years left on my visa, and was thinking about coming back a year-18 months later. I told them that, and they told me to pay it when I came back. In the end, I didn't come back and the visa expired. I then returned to Japan about a year after the visa expired, on a new visa, and wasn't asked for the outstanding payment. Obviously, it was cancelled when the visa expired.

If I was in your situation, I would think about paying what you can, to at least ease your conscience. You could probably tell them you're leaving and be honest about it, and tell them you can't afford to pay it all off. To the best of my knowledge, there's nothing they can do.
 

KyushuWoozy

Sempai
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Obviously, it was cancelled when the visa expired.
Are the visa and National Insurance systems so closely integrated? They may be, I don't know. Or perhaps they just haven't connected the dots yet and your debt is still lurking out there.
 

Majestic

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Obviously, it was cancelled when the visa expired.
I agree with KyushuWoozy above. Your outcome is not at all obvious, and even if your debt was magically erased by the bureaucracy, it would be extremely dangerous to assume that all public debts such as these are cancelled upon leaving.
 

Transformer5

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Are the visa and National Insurance systems so closely integrated? They may be, I don't know. Or perhaps they just haven't connected the dots yet and your debt is still lurking out there.
My impression is that, once your visa expires, then any outstanding health insurance and tax payments get cancelled. As I said, I returned to Japan a year after that visa expired and spent 3 years on a new visa and wasn't asked for the outstanding payment.
 

Mike Cash

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My impression is that, once your visa expires, then any outstanding health insurance and tax payments get cancelled. As I said, I returned to Japan a year after that visa expired and spent 3 years on a new visa and wasn't asked for the outstanding payment.
What years are you talking about, specifically?

If you want to make a case that forgiveness of tax liabilities are in any way at all tied to visa expiration, please cite something that would support that position.

Far from there being nothing they can do about it.... they can get a court judgment and come sieze your belongings.
 

Majestic

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And what municipalities were involved? It is extremely naive to think that the Japanese authorities just shrug their shoulders at exiting foreigners, and all outstanding debts are forgiven.

If debts such as these were simply cancelled with no consequences, every foreigner in Japan would just refrain from paying taxes.
 

johnnyG

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As I said, I returned to Japan a year after that visa expired and spent 3 years on a new visa and wasn't asked for the outstanding payment.
One can only hope that the My Number system will "fix" this situation...!
 

Transformer5

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What years are you talking about, specifically?

If you want to make a case that forgiveness of tax liabilities are in any way at all tied to visa expiration, please cite something that would support that position.

Far from there being nothing they can do about it.... they can get a court judgment and come sieze your belongings.
As I've said, that's my impression of it. If you're about to leave Japan, I very much doubt they're going to suddenly come and seize your belongings. According to that link you posted, that happens after a certain period of time.

If you can find any hard evidence that tax and insurance liabilities aren't waived when you leave Japan and your visa expires, and they will/can chase you for the payments if and when you return to Japan on a new visa, then post it.

My experience suggests that's not the case, and like I said, I was straight up with them about it.
 
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Transformer5

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And what municipalities were involved? It is extremely naive to think that the Japanese authorities just shrug their shoulders at exiting foreigners, and all outstanding debts are forgiven.

If debts such as these were simply cancelled with no consequences, every foreigner in Japan would just refrain from paying taxes.
They wouldn't. The situation I'm talking about is when you leave Japan and your visa expires. If you're staying in Japan, then as that link provided by Mike Cash above says, eventually they'll come after you for the payments, seize your belongings and that kind of thing.
 

johnnyG

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I suppose coming back as a tourist might be acceptable, but I would hope that the supposedly "cancelled" debt would come back to haunt anyone re-applying for a work visa, spouse visa, etc. And that lying about your past on the paperwork would be grounds for deportation & ban.

Fingers crossed that they'll be following up on such scammers.

And, thinking about it, maybe just blacklist anyone with that kind of "cancelled" debt. Assign them the same 'no entry' status as someone who hit a policeman or got caught with drugs.
 

Transformer5

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Just to add to this that, when I registered with my new city office when I returned to Japan (which city was actually adjacent to the previous city where I was living, to whose city office I owed the payment), a year after my previous visa expired, I was ready to make the payment and expected that they would ask me for the it, but they didn't.

The only reasonable explanation I can think of for that is that the payment is cancelled when your visa and residency expires. Another explanation could be that the payment is maintained in the system as required to be paid, but there is no procedure to alert your previous city office that you've returned to Japan, but that seems absurd. Why would they maintain a demand for payment but not have a system that alerted them that you'd returned to Japan?

The only other explanation is that there is a procedure to alert them but the city offices I was registered with were just completely inept and incompetent, but I can't really imagine that they'd be that useless.

Maybe somebody out there has some more concrete information about this, or has other experiences of it.
 
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Transformer5

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I suppose coming back as a tourist might be acceptable, but I would hope that the supposedly "cancelled" debt would come back to haunt anyone re-applying for a work visa, spouse visa, etc. And that lying about your past on the paperwork would be grounds for deportation & ban.

Fingers crossed that they'll be following up on such scammers.

And, thinking about it, maybe just blacklist anyone with that kind of "cancelled" debt. Assign them the same 'no entry' status as someone who hit a policeman or got caught with drugs.
Well it didn't come back to haunt me, and as I said, I was straight up with them about it and acted in good faith. I didn't lie about my past either. As I've explained, I can't think of any other reasonable explanation than such payments get cancelled when your visa expires, or else the procedures at the city offices I was registered with were flawed (which is their problem, not mine).

If you've got issues with it, take it up with the relevant authorities in Japan. Wishing some kind of punishment or blacklisting of people who've acted in good faith is very unnecessary.
 
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