Pension Refund

You may have noticed that a significant portion of your monthly salary goes toward the Employee’s Pension Insurance (厚生年金保険, kousei nenkin hoken), which is not to be mistaken with the National Pension Insurance (国民年金保険, kokumin nenkin hoken). According to a law passed in 1994, all foreign residents who pay into the Japanese pension system but then leave the country are eligible for a partial refund (the lump-sum pension withdrawal payment). In addition, some countries have pension treaties in place with Japan known as “totalisation agreements” that allow foreign residents who have worked in Japan to transfer and aggregate their pension contribution to the equivalent of the pension system in their home country. For more information on the totalisation agreements and which countries have these agreements with Japan, please refer to the Japan Pension Service website.

Although JETs are eligible for the pension refund, we must follow the following steps to actually receive this money. The reimbursement amount is calculated at the currency exchange rate on the day of transaction. When you get your pension refunded, 20.42% of it is taken by the Japanese government as tax. However, you are eligible to have this taxed amount refunded to you as well.

If you want the pension refund, the application for the Lump-sum Pension Withdrawal must be completed within two years of you leaving Japan.

If you want the tax refund on the pension refund, you and your designated tax representative must complete the paperwork within five years of you leaving Japan.

Pension Refund Procedures at a Glance:

This diagram can also be found in the General Information Handbook.

Note: The person you designate as your tax representative should have a high level of Japanese in order for the process to go smoothly. Your tax representation will eventually have to do your tax return all in Japanese. Please bear this in mind when considering who to designate as your tax rep.

Pension Refund Procedures:

Before Leaving Japan

1. Ask someone who is a resident of Japan (this person can be a fellow JET or a co-worker) to be your tax representative. Explain the process to them (at this time, you may want to refer to the GIH (EN) (JP)). Once they understand their responsibilities, have them fill out the Declaration Naming a Person to Administer the Taxpayer’s Affairs (納税管理 人の届出書, nouzei kanrinin no todokesho). Be sure to submit this to your local tax office. (Application Form)

2. Submit the moving out notice (転出届, tenshutsu todoke) to your local municipal office within two weeks of the day you plan to move out. This form is available at your local municipal office.

3. Secure your pension book (年金手帳, nenkin techou) and make a copy of the front page of the book.

Once You are Back in Your Home Country

1. Prepare the following items:

  1. A filled out Pension Refund Application Form (脱退一時金請求書, dattai ichijiikin seikyuusho) (Application Form)
  2. A copy of your passport (the pages showing your date of birth, nationality, signature, visa, and date of departure.
  3. A certified bank stamp OR all pertinent bank information for your bank account in your home country.
  4. Your pension book
  5. If you are sending the packet to the Japan Pension Service before leaving Japan – Any documents verifying that you no longer have an address in Japan (e.g. copy of residence card excemption, moving out certificate, residence record deletion)

2. Send all of the aforementioned items to Japan Pension Service (you can cut out the mailing label from the application form and affix it to the envelope).

Japan Pension Service (Foreign Business Group)
3-5-24, Takaido-Nishi, Suginami-Ku,
Tokyo 168-8505 JAPAN

〒168-8505 東京都杉並区高井戸西 3 丁目 5 番 24 号
  日本年金機構 (外国業務グループ)

3. Expect to receive a Notice of Lump Sum Withdrawal Payments (支給決定通知書, shikyuu kettei tsuuchou) as a receipt for your money in the next 3-6 months after mailing the packet. Make a copy of this form for your records and keep the original in a safe and secure place (you will need the original if you want the Tax Refund on the Pension Refund).

4. Confirm the money is transferred into the specified bank account with the amount on the notice.

Tax Refund on the Pension Refund Procedures

You (JET Participant) Tax Representative

1. Send the original Notice of Lump-sum Withdrawal Payments to your tax representative by mid-February as the timeframe to submit the paperwork is limited to mid-February to mid-March of every year.

2. Wait.

3. Tax representative receives the “Notice of Lump-sum Withdrawal Payments” from you in the mail.

4. Tax representative goes to the local tax office to file the tax return/payment confirmation (確定申告書, kakutei shinkokusho) for you at the local tax office located in the municipality you were registered at by mid-March. (Tax offices are typically only open on M-F; 8:30-17:00)

5. Wait.

5. Wait.

6. Tax representative receives the tax refund in their bank account (the money has to be deposited into a Japanese bank account).

7. Tax representative remits the money back to you. Please note, your representative may incur handling and service fees when using a remittance service to send your money back. Please discuss the process on how to receive your money beforehand.

8. Receive and confirm the total of your refund. Be sure to thank your tax representative afterwards.

More information about the procedure and applications can also be found HERE on the official JET website.

Frequently Asked Questions

Blue Pension Book

Everybody gets a blue pension book when they come to Japan. You need this to get your pension refund. Before sending in your pension book, be sure to make a copy of the important pages, or at least write down your Pension number for your records just in case.

The pension book looks like this, and is about 14 cm x 10 cm: