Health Insurance and the National Pension system in Japan

July 27th, 2010By Category: Uncategorized

Living in a foreign country, having an insurance when visiting your local clinic or hospitals is obviously both helpful and practical; leaving you with no unnecessary worries and letting you focus on recovering completely from your illness.

In Japan, Health Insurance is mandatory for those who are entitled to live in Japan for a year or more; the Japanese government provides two main types of insurance for their citizens – National Health Insurance (kokumin kenkou hoken/ kokuho) and Employees’ Health Insurance (shakai kenkou hoken/ shakai hoken).

カメラ小僧 / Wikimedia

Employees’ Health Insurance/ Social Insurance (shakai kenkou hoken/ shakai hoken)

Not everyone is eligible to join.

Application is made via the company of work.

Monthly premiums are salary linked and deducted directly from employee’s paycheck.

Employers pay an equal contribution each month.

Must also join the Employees’ Pension Insurance scheme.

Members of this scheme pay 30% of their medical costs, covering sickness, injury and necessary dental work.

National Health Insurance (kokumin kenkou hoken/ kokuho)

All foreign residents with a valid visa, allowing them to stay in Japan for a year or more, can join.

The scheme is open to people who are not employed (expectant mothers, students, retirees, etc.)

Premiums are calculated on a yearly basis (April – March) based on the insured person’s resident tax, property owned and number of dependents.

Premiums can be paid by bank transfer or at the local ward or city office.

Primary members and their dependents pay 30% for inpatient or outpatient costs.

Employees’ Pension Insurance (kosei nenkin)

For those signed up to Shakai Hoken via their company will also be enrolled to Employees’ Pension Insurance; premiums being automatically deducted from employees salary.

Like all pension plans it is designed to provide an income for contributors once they have retired, with payments being able to be made even if you’re not in Japan.

In case of sudden unemployment, a holder of Employees’ Pension Insurance should report immediately to the city office where they reside; also if a holder of Employees’ Pension Insurance is leaving Japan and has paid the premiums for a certain period, they could be eligible to claim back the contributions they had made.

Author of this article


GaijinPot is an online community for foreigners living in Japan, providing information on everything you need to know about enjoying life here, from finding a job and accommodation to having fun.

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  • What a great blog. I spend hours on the internet reading blogs, about tons of different subjects. I have to first of all give kudos to whoever created your website and second of all to you for writing what i can only describe as an post. I honestly believe there is a skill to writing articles that only a few posses and frankly you have it. The combination of informative and quality content is definitely extremely rare with the large amount of blogs on the internet.

  • That would be a great facility provided by Japan Govt. Soon i have a plan to visit Japan. I am really feeling glad for Japan Govt. they not only take care of their own nation but also for others. An appreciable step by Japan Govt. 

  • RobotKoi

    I am curious if having a pre-existing medical condition affects getting health insurance in Japan. 
    If one were working in Japan on a valid visa and had to get mandatory
    employees insurance would that mean you are covered for any costs that
    might arise from this condition?

  • Dhananji Fernando

    My friend ;she is pregnant but fortunately She is on Application…. Which means she haven’t any kind of insurance ….. today she completed 36 week in her pregnancy period …. I’m afraid .. Still she haven’t any place to do her delivery….She is living in Ota-ku …. Can you please let me know any Cheap and safety place to guide her …

  • Alys Griffin

    Did you manage to find an answer? Im’m type one diabetic and trying to figure out how this would work out in JApan with the cost of glucose meters, insuling pumps etc


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