Eligibility and Benefits
Find out who is eligible for social and national insurance in Japan and the benefits available...
All people living in Japan should join either the social insurance or national insurance scheme, irrespective of their nationality. An employer must enrol all their employees who work for more than 30 hours per week for social insurance. The same applies for anyone employed for more than 75 percent of the hours of a full time employee doing the same job. An individual's employer enrols them for the insurance, it is not necessary for an individual to make an application themselves. A resident card/alien registration card is needed to enrol.
Employment insurance, which provides individuals with benefits should they lose their job, is not available to all foreigners employed in Japan. The following people are not eligible for employment insurance:
- Overseas public servants
- People covered by an overseas unemployment compensation scheme
- Individuals who are working in Japan after being hired abroad
Social Security Agreements
Japan currently has social security agreements with 14 countries. These agreements prevent double payments, which means that social security contributions made while living in Japan can count towards pensions entitlement in these 14 countries. The countries with which Japan currently has an agreement are: the UK, Korea, Germany, the US, France, Canada, Belgium, the Netherlands, Australia, Spain, Ireland, Brazil, Switzerland and the Czech Republic. An agreement with Italy is currently in preparation.
An outline of some of the major social security benefits available in Japan are given below:
Universal Child Allowance
This benefit is available to households with children up to the age of 15 - the age at which compulsory education stops.
Child Rearing Allowance
This is a benefit for single-parent households with children up to the age of 18 with an income below a defined threshold. The financial threshold depends on the number of children in the household.
Special Child Rearing Allowance
This is a benefit for parents of a child with a disability to allow them to care for their child at home. The amount received depends on the severity of the disability.
Child Care Facilities
Municipal governments must provide day-care facilities for children whose parents are not able to look after them because of illness, work or because they are caring for other members of the family. Most facilities offer eight hours of daily care.
Disability Basic Pension
This pension provides assistance for people born with a disability.
This benefit is paid to people who are out of work. The amount given depends on the age of the applicant, the reason for the unemployment and the length of time they have made employment insurance contributions for.
- National Institute of Population and Social Security Research paper on social security: Click here (PDF)
- Health Hokkaido page on social security: Click here
- Japan Pension Service