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  • WSJ: “‘Expats’ Say Goodbye to Gaijin Card”, needs more research beyond “Expat” conceits

    Posted by Dr. ARUDOU, Debito on May 23rd, 2012

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    Hi Blog. Here we have the Wall Street Journal up to its old tricks: Representing the “Expat” community’s attitudes towards Japan, doing “Japan Real Time” research that is essentially navel-gazing about Japan from a skyscraper window (or a computer screen, as it were).

    Even though the reporter, Sarah Berlow, parrots much of the net-researched stuff (courtesy of the GOJ, sharing the same blinkered viewpoint of life in Japan for NJ residents) accurately, check this bit out:

    “New residents will instead be given a “residence card” similar to the ones Japanese citizens carry, except for a special marking designating the holder’s nationality.”

    Err… wrong. Japanese citizens have no residence cards to carry, as we’ve discussed here on Debito.org for years. This fact has long seeped into the consciousness of people who ACTUALLY live here, as one of the WSJ commenters duly notes:

    There is no such residence card for Japanese nationals. Japanese citizens usually use drivers licences, health insurance cards or passports for ID if necessary. They most certainly are not issued with these or similar residency-based cards currently, I am aware of no plans to do so, and there is no compulsory carrying of ID required for Japanese citizens (except to enter an airport). The previous system required non-Japanese to carry a credit card-sized ID card at all times (subject to penalty if not carried) and will still do so. Japanese citizens do not have to carry ID and will still not be required to do so.
    Source for comments relating to requirements for resident non-Japanese :
    http://www.immi-moj.go.jp/english/newimmiact/q_a_details1_english.html , especially under Q1-9

    And how about this: “These new changes come as the government attempts to increase this number [of foreigners entering Japan], to an “era of 25 million foreign visitors to Japan” by 2020, a goal established in 2011.”

    Err… foreign tourists never had to carry Gaijin Cards in the first place (only people who had to register with residency visas of three months and up), so these changes have no connection and will have no effect. Does Ms. Berlow even have a residency visa in Japan so she might know about this from personal experience?  If not, there are whole books on this, ones so easy even the busy-getting-rich-off-their-Expat-packages-and-enjoying-their-Expat-Bubble-Enclaves Expats can read them (cf. HANDBOOK FOR NEWCOMERS, MIGRANTS, AND IMMIGRANTS), so bone up.

    And there is no mention of the RIFD Gaijin Card Chipping for the new “Gaijin Residency Cards” only, something I’ve made a fuss about in the past.  Ms. Berlow uses the word “track” in regards to NJ within the article, which is appropriate, for reasons she probably didn’t research enough to anticipate.  RFID enables remote tracking of people’s credit card numbers, to begin with.

    http://www.businessinsider.com/watch-this-is-how-easy-it-is-for-thieves-to-steal-everything-in-your-wallet-2012-5

    And with technological advances, as I’ve argued before, it is only a matter of time and degree before it’s capable at long distances — if it’s not already. Don your tinfoil hats, but RFID technology is already being used in military drone guidance systems for long-distance precision targeting. You think the GOJ’s going to abdicate its wet-dream ability to keep physical track of potential foreign “illegal overstayers”, now that it has the ability to RFID chip every foreign resident from now on? Oh well, the “Expats” need not worry. They’re not in Japan forever.

    Finally, what’s the reason I’m jumping on the WSJ so much?  Because, as I’ve said, they’re up to their old tricks.  Don’t forget, it was the WSJ who first broke (and legitimized in English and Japanese) the story about the fictitious “Flyjin” Phenomenon, setting the agenda to tar the NJ who left (or worse, stayed for the stigma).  Thus the WSJ’s record of “spoiling things” for NJ in Japan is on par with what critics claim Debito.org does.  Sorry, we might not have their media reach or legitimacy, but at least we do better research here, for free.  That’s a deal even a non-“Expat” can afford.  Arudou Debito

    /////////////////////////////////////////////////////

    The Wall Street Journal May 7, 2012, 3:57 PM JST
    Expats Say Goodbye to Gaijin Card
    JAPAN REAL TIME HOME PAGE
    By Sarah Berlow Courtesy of TS
    http://blogs.wsj.com/japanrealtime/2012/05/07/expats-say-goodbye-to-gaijin-card/

    This summer marks the end of an era for foreigners residing in Japan. Starting July 9, the 60-year-old “certificate of alien registration” — the credit-card sized i.d. informally known as “the gaijin card” — will go the way of yakiimo carts, weekly Astroboy broadcasts, and uniformed men punching train tickets.

    New residents will instead be given a “residence card” similar to the ones Japanese citizens carry, except for a special marking designating the holder’s nationality. It’s part of a series of amendments to Japanese immigration law designed to create a simpler system for the government, and a way for foreigners to feel, well, slightly less alien.

    One main change: foreign residents and Japanese nationals can sign up with the government under the same resident registration system, rather than filing under separate categories, as currently required. That means foreigners generally can handle more of their bureaucratic needs only with their local municipal office, reducing the need to deal with immigration authorities. The new law is also designed to make life easier for Japanese with non-Japanese spouses. The entire family can be registered in one system, and the foreign spouse can be listed as the head of the family. Under current law, those families have to register under two different systems.

    Another significant change: longer stay periods on certain visas. Some specialized workers, like engineers, can stay for up to five years instead of the current three; students can stay for up to four years and three months, up from the current maximum of two years and three months. Re-entry permits are being extended to five years from the current three years.

    According to the Immigration Bureau of Japan, the new system will better track “the residency of foreign nationals residing in Japan for the mid-to long-term with resident status, and ensure greater convenience for those foreign nationals.”

    The “gaijin card” was first created in 1952, and for many years included the holder’s fingerprint — a requirement that drew complaints from foreign residents who felt they were being treated as criminals. That feature was dropped by 1999.

    The changes come as Japan faces a sharp drop in foreign residents, a trend prompted by the long recession, the reduction in financial jobs following the 2008 global financial crisis, and the rising cost of living due to the strong yen. Last year’s quake, tsunami, and nuclear accident didn’t do much to encourage foreigners to stay.

    At the end of 2011, the number of registered foreigners in Japan had dropped by about 56,000 from 2010 to 2,078,480, the third consecutive decline, according to Japan’s Ministry of Justice.

    The number of foreigners who entered Japan 2011 was 7.1 million down 24.4% from 2010. These new changes come as the government attempts to increase this number, to an “era of 25 million foreign visitors to Japan” by 2020, a goal established in 2011.

    Read this post in Japanese/日本語訳はこちら≫

    WSJ 2012/5/8 14:56
    外国人登録制度、7月9日に廃止へ 60年の歴史に幕
    http://jp.wsj.com/japanrealtime/blog/archives/11055/

    今夏、日本に居住する外国人にとって1つの時代が終了する。過去60年間在留外国人の身分証明書として使用されてきた「外国人登録証明書」が7月9日に廃止される。

    これまでの外国人登録証明書に代わり、今後、入管法上の在留資格をもって日本に中長期間在留する外国人である中期在留者には「在留カード」が交付されることになる。日本国民に交付されるのと同じようなカードだが、所有者の国籍を示していることが異なる。政府にとってより単純な制度の創設と在留外国人に対するある種の配慮を目指す一連の入管法改正の一部。

    大きな違いは、外国人居住者と日本国民が、現行で義務付けられた異なるカテゴリーではなく、同様の住民基本台帳制度の下で登録できるようになる。これにより、外国人居住者には一般的に、市区町村でできる手続きの範囲が拡大し、入国管理局とのやり取りが減少することになる。また、新しい在留管理制度の導入により、外国人と結婚している日本人にとっても利便性が高まる見込みだ。家族全員が1つの制度の下での手続きが可能になる上、外国人の配偶者も世帯主となり得る。現行法の下では、こうした家族は2つの異なる制度の下で登録する必要がある。

    もう1つの著しい変更は、特定の査証に対する在留期間の延長だ。例えば、エンジニアといった一部の特別技能労働者は現行の3年から5年に、また学生は現行の2年3カ月から4年3カ月に在留期間が延長される。さらに、再入国許可についても、有効期間が現行の3年から5年に延ばされる。

    法務省入国管理局は、新しい在留管理制度の導入により、「在留状況をこれまで以上に正確に把握できるようになる」とともに、「適法に在留する外国人の方々に対する利便性を向上する措置も可能になる」と説明している。

    中長期在留者が所持する外国人登録証明書は1952年に導入され、長年にわたり、指紋押捺制度を伴うものだった。指紋押捺は1999年までに廃止された。

    長期に及ぶリセッション(景気後退)や2008年の世界金融危機に伴う金融関連職の減少、円高による生活費の上昇などを背景に、日本の外国人居住者数は大幅減少に直面している。また、昨年の東日本大震災とそれに伴う福島第1原発事故の影響も考えられる。

    法務省によると、2011年末時点での在留資格別外国人登録者総数は前年から約5万6000人減少し、207万8480人となった。減少は3年連続。

    11年の訪日外国人数は710万人と、前年比24.4%減少した。一方、政府は訪日外国人を2020年までに2500万人に増加させるという目標を掲げている。

    記者:Sarah Berlow
    ENDS

    64 Responses to “WSJ: “‘Expats’ Say Goodbye to Gaijin Card”, needs more research beyond “Expat” conceits”

    1. Tom Says:

      I know this was one of the smaller issues in your post, but there is a defense that you can take in regards to the RFID that are in the new gaijin cards. I picked up an RFID blocking wallet over at defcon in vegas a few years ago from difrwear. it basically cancels out the frequency that the RFIDs use to communicate with the receivers. they have all sorts of varieties including passport holders since the US has been doing it for at least 5 or 6 years.

      I saw you have alot of strong criticism against wsj for their shoddy reporting in that article, but its not just them these days. There is a total disregard of standards these days. I see it all the time. They must have fired all their fact checkers.

    2. Charuzu Says:

      Regarding the RFID, is it unlawful to create a Faraday cage to eliminate the RFID element?

      Wrapping the card in copper foil would render the RFID inoperative while so wrapped.

    3. Scott T. Hards Says:

      The Wall Street Journal isn’t up to “old tricks” here, in my opinion. Crappy reporting like this is relatively new for them, dating basically from the time Rupert Murdoch took the organization over. When I depended on it back in the 80s and 90s in my years in the financial industry, it was a damn good paper.

    4. Matt Says:

      These RFID chips have already made their way into Japanese passports and driver’s licenses. Don’t see why they would suddenly discontinue this trend with gaijin cards.

    5. B Says:

      Very good points above, WSJ needs to retract that story and issue a corrected version.

      I also hope that maybe later there might be an article on how to block the RFID element effectively, as I refuse to allow myself to be tracked… any further than I already am that is.

    6. EastKyushu Says:

      Every time I’ve been through a major international airport in Japan, I’ve seen “anti-skimming” wallets, passport covers, and even handbags for sale, so I would venture a guess that turning your wallet into a little Faraday cage should be fine.

      For anyone with a Japanese driver’s license, newer licenses also have an RFID chip inside them. (If your license doesn’t show your honseki (本籍) on the front, then you have a chipped license.)

      As to reading an RFID chip from a distance — this ability is largely based on the size of the receiving antenna. Here’s an article from *2009* about someone driving around San Francisco, skimming passports and driver’s licenses from a distance:
      http://www.engadget.com/2009/02/02/video-hacker-war-drives-san-francisco-cloning-rfid-passports/

      I know what I’m getting for my next wallet.

      Otherwise, shoddy reporting by WSJ. Yakiimo carts haven’t gone anywhere. :-P

    7. MMT Says:

      This article contains several errors. First off as Debito mentioned there is no requirement for Japanese to carry ID on their person. The writer may have been thinking of the JukiNet card, which Japanese can apply for, but are under no obligation to carry.

      Second, as stated, foreign residents will now be part of the juuminhyou resident registration system, however their juuminhyou will be different from a Japanese resident’s certificate in that there will be no space to record a date for “住民年月日” (date of becoming a resident). There will only be a “届出年月日” (notification of residence date), which by law will be July 9, 2012, when this law comes into force. Calls to the Ministry of Internal Affairs inquiring as to the reason for this omission has found that while foreign residents will be given a juuminhyou, they will be categorized as 外国人住民 and not 住民. So as it stands, those having lived years or decades in the same address their new foreigner juuminhyou will not reflect that in any way.

      Lastly, the new registration system for foreign nationals will in no way make things easier for them. Any changes to their information contained on the zairyu card (with the exception of a change of address) will now require a time-consuming and costly trip to a regional immigration bureau and can not, as suggested be handled by local authorities.

    8. Anonymous Says:

      To those of you who still plan on cleverly “beating the visa checking system” by foil-wrapping: enjoy your face-to-face up-close-and-personal conversations with the police.

      All you folks who think foil-wrapping the card will make your day go more smoothly, think it through: you’re going to be physically stopped and interrogated, face-to-face, up-close-and personal, by a police officer (or a few police officers) 30 centimeters from your face, with a high chance of the subsequent argument leading to heavy-search-pressure, and a high chance of you losing the argument due to lies by them about your right to refuse, and a high chance of you backing down in the end and showing your card, allowing a bag search and pocket search, perhaps even stepping into their van and peeing into a cup, and perhaps going so far as to take a little walk with them down to the koban for a little chat, no big deal right, you don’t mind because you’ve got nothing to hide right? Little do you realize, every police station has hundreds of yet-unsolved-crimes committed in the past that they would love to pin on a weak sucker who walks into their lair. And to think, this whole process started because you thought it would be clever to disallow electronic visa-confirmation, to made it appear that you weren’t carrying your card.

      Meanwhile a person who does NOT foil-wrap the IC chip (a person like me) will be checked electronically from afar, which keeps the police officers eyes and ears and noses and mouths at least 10 meters away from my body. Thanks to this new electronic-check-from-afar ability they will NOT have a valid reason to speak with me AT ALL, thus in the unlikely case that they ever would come up to me I would say WITH GREATER CONFIDENCE THAN EVER, “You have already confirmed electronically that I have a valid visa, so there is ABSOLUTELY NO REASON for you to detain me. I do NOT agree to stop and speak with you. Okotowari-shimasu. No time. Goodbye. Thank you.”

      I’ve read and considered all of the earlier blog posts here about IC chipping, and the logical conclusion is the IC chip will DECREASE the chance of a police officer speaking to me.

      WITHOUT the IC chip, the police officer has a semi-plausible-excuse to initiate a conversation/interrogation: demanding I pull out the card to prove I have a valid visa.

      WITH the IC chip, the police officer has NO plausible-excuse to initiate a conversation/interrogation: he has already electronically checked my status from afar.

      Yes, of course Debito, as you pointed out before, this means that the “Japanese citizens who look like gaijin” who DON’T have the option of receiving this “visa-confirmation which can be electronically checked from afar” are the ones who are going to be stopped and interrogated face to face, ironically.

      The RFID means that un-foil-wrapped gaijins will be subjected to LESS conversations with police officers, while foil-wrapped gaijins and “Japanese citizens who look like gaijin” will ironically be subjected to MORE conversations with police officers.

    9. Charuzu Says:

      Anonymous #8

      Your ideas are classic ideas from game theory.

      Yet, on the other hand, they are also redolent of strategies used in Pol Pot forced labour camps on how prisoners chose to avoid attention for themselves, so that such attention would fall on others.

      As such, one has to question what the further effects of such a new policy will be, if already those affected are operating not on the basis of group solidarity, but rather on the basis of individualist gain.

      And, given that the effects may be to pit one against another, one must ask oneself whether that is normal and healthy for those affected.

      As a question more generally, will this requirement apply to children as well?

      Will it apply to zainichi?

    10. blimp Says:

      @MMT
      Thanks to or due to the info being much less on the zairyu card compared to the ARC, the only changes that can’t be done at the local ward/city hall are visa related changes (for which you need to hike over to immigration anyway), name and sex changes. The latter two I don’t think happen too often.

      Both workplace address and passport related info will go.

      I was indeed a bit surprised (and disappointed) to notice that the NJ jyuminhyou will not be exactly the same as for the Japanese. I had visa status and expiry dates and what not on mine.

    11. Jim Di Griz Says:

      @ Anonymous #8

      I don’t want to repeat anything that has been said before, so;
      ‘Yes, of course Debito, as you pointed out before, this means that the “Japanese citizens who look like gaijin” who DON’T have the option of receiving this “visa-confirmation which can be electronically checked from afar” are the ones who are going to be stopped and interrogated face to face, ironically.’
      Absolutely.
      So I predict the following pattern of events, let’s see if I get close;
      1. Cards will be issued to legal NJ.
      2. NJ looking Japanese will get stopped as they don’t have a chip to check from a stand-off distance.
      3. Some of these NJ looking Japanese will kick up a stink about their rights and privacy, and the humiliation of ‘being treated like gaijin’ (cue shock!).
      4. Police will defend the action as part of the clampdown on illegal NJ.
      5. All parties will agree that the police will need a new range of powers to deal with illegal Koreans and Chinese who are beating the system if they look sufficiently Japanese in dress sense and speak Japanese.
      6. More anti-Chinese paranoia for ‘tiny’ Japan.

    12. Blue Says:

      @anonymous

      “WITH the IC chip, the police officer has NO plausible-excuse to initiate a conversation/interrogation: he has already electronically checked my status from afar.”

      I already have been checked 5 or six times while ” walking being Gaijin.” with NO plausible excuse, Laws never stop them from asking you and wont in the future. At my main station they are always around usually with a rookie police officer “practicing questioning”

      an uncovered RFID chip can be read by criminals just as easily as police officers , for example waiting at a station near an immigration office or visiting a bar frequented by “foreigners”

      from wikipedia RFID entry : “Livestock and pets may have tags injected, allowing positive identification of the animal”

      this @anonymous, is the world you are accepting! .

      living in japan gets less and less pleasant,

      in 2015 when I will have to get one..I will be covering it up,
      or maybe I will have gone, having finally had enough.

    13. Bob Says:

      I think Anonymous at 8. is pretty spot-on in theory. To add to what Anonymous says at 8., a “foreign-looking” Japanese citizen could get a Juki-net card (or upgraded driver’s license?) and achieve the same result.

      Cynical take: The law still says it is a crime to refuse to provide the cops with the Gaijin card on demand, no? They can still use it as a pretext, even if they’ve checked you from afar, just to scout you for any unsolved crimes they have laying about.

      Positive taxpayer take: Cops can now entirely be replaced by visa-overstay-check machines, bike and ID scanning machines to check bike theft on random passers by, and Google maps – the only 3 things a Japanese policeman has ever done in the line of duty since the Meiji restoration. Maybe we will have even fewer police around in 10 or 20 years, as technology has made their every task obsolete and the budget would be better spent on health care.

    14. DR Says:

      I remember why I left, shook the dust off my sandals, vowed never to set foot there again, and have zero, and I DO mean zero, regrets.

      Japan’s got WAAAAAAY bigger problems than an international community of residents, the vast majority of the law abiding ‘gaijin’ community.

      http://enenews.com/former-fukushima-daiichi-worker-i-believe-the-country-will-be-evacuated-if-the-no-4-spent-fuel-pool-collapses-should-be-hundreds-or-thousands-of-people-working-furiously-every-day

      http://enenews.com/enraged-japanese-public-about-to-explode-at-its-leaders-residents-block-radioactive-debris-delivery-only-2-towns-support-restart-of-oi-nuke-plant-acceptance-has-failed-to-progress-acto

      …for starters. While I support debito.org one million per-cent, much of what it stands for will become moot if TSHTF (the bovine excrement hits the fan)! Might I suggest a greater sense of urgency? A redirection of focus? A survival plan? (I defer to Debito’s wisdom on this issue….) Some of my relatives in N. Japan are beginning to show “the signs” of Fukushima radiation. Ideas?

    15. Andrew in Saitama Says:

      As a matter of interest, my kari-juminhyo doesn’t show any figures for nenkin, hoken, etc (even though I have been enroled in the system for almost a decade). I’m guessing that my council doesn’t want to put that info on paper.
      Is anyone else’s different?

    16. Nogbad Says:

      @Andrew
      Mine shows the time I paid 国民健康保険 (National Health Insurance?) direct to the city. It won’t show 健康保険 (Social health insurance?) when you are in an employer’s scheme; same for pension. Child benefit payment will all have the same starting date when the law changed last year, unless commenced more recently.

      This information doesn’t appear on Juminhyo that I’ve previously seen. And as Blimp and MTT say the provisional Juminhyo format seems to be completely different to the previous ones for Japanese. Is it that the format is changing for everyone? Or is it that there have always been different formats for printing out the records held on request? Or simply that the new integrated system has one juminhyo for citizens and one for NJ? I thought that there was one record for each household which all members appeared on, rather than a record for each member – how did it used to work, Debito?

      Interestingly, I have automatically been made 世帯主 and my wife has been “demoted” on her entry. I guess they chose sexism over racism here?

      @Blimp
      As I understood it, this information was supposed to no longer be printed on the card, but would still be kept on the chip and so you would need to report these to immigration.

      Also, does anyone know which RFID technology is going to be used on these cards and encryption standards that are planned? Also the access control/authentication?

      – How old Juuminhyou used to work is at http://www.debito.org/residentspage.html#juuminhyou

    17. Anonymous Says:

      @Andrew In Saitama

      MY fake-juuminhyou-for-gaijin DOES show the date of entry, and account number, of my kokumin kenko houken, so if you’re enrolled but your fake-juuminhyou-for-gaijin says that you’re not (i.e. “doesn’t show any figures”) you had better go get that corrected immediately. “No figures” in those boxes means “No visa renewal”.

    18. Curious Says:

      ““No figures” in those boxes means “No visa renewal”.”

      #16-Anon – Do you have some source for this information at immigration? Citation needed.

      Also, blocking RFID cards and risking an interview is much better IMO than getting randomly scanned without my knowledge (and possibly scanned by someone other than the cops.) When I cycle by cops get requested to stop I usually tell them I don’t have time for it, and continue to cycle on. They have not pursued me to this date.

    19. Anonymous Says:

      @Nogbad

      The 世帯主 is determined by which person in the marriage earns the most money, that’s not sexism, it’s realism.

      The racism is that up until now, gaijins earning more money than their spouses were NOT allowed to be called 世帯主.

      Surprising to see you writing here at Debito’s again. You’re hoping Debito doesn’t know what you wrote about him at the anti-Debito site.

      Nogbad wrote on May 19, 2011: “I found this [anti-Debito] website via a recent mention on debito.org and have greatly appreciated the efforts of all the contributors. Having read debito.org for a while, I find his attitude to be somewhat counter-productive. It is so refreshing to read proper debate here. I’ve been getting increasingly frustrated with his scaremongering about the nuclear situation and have been wondering how much more of his commentary has been based on equal willful misinterpretation and misrepresentation.”

      Nogbad wrote on May 20, 2011: “Looks like he blocked your comment again, Scott, whilst letting through my rant that was entirely irrelevant to the issue in hand :lol: . Interesting editorial policy he has there.”

      Nogbad wrote on July 9, 2011: “I think Debito’s apparent lack of courtesy and complete absence of any social awareness goes a long way to explain the disproportionate amount of ‘racism’ he unfortunately suffers.”

      Nogbad wrote on August 27, 2011: “Yeah beneaththewheel, I decided that posting on Debito is a waste of time as they are not likely to listen to rational arguments and inconvenient facts, then Debito and his fans just dismiss whatever I write with some short effortless childish invectives.”

      Nogbad wrote on October 26, 2011: ” :lol: :lol: :lol: Does this mean the end of debito.org?”

      Nogbad wrote on March 26, 2012: “Debito seems to especially want to hold on to and bring up 3/11, even when irrelevant – I suspect in an attempt to cash in on the fame Japan received around those unfortunate times. His powerpoint presentation was badly conceived and generally pretty rubbish. It can’t help Japan if people are put off visiting/living in/doing business with Japan by Debito’s website, ‘journalism’, and research presentations.”

      Nogbad wrote on March 27, 2012: “According to the Debito method – anecdotes can disprove any rational data, except when they go against THE TRUTH as he knows it.”

      Nogbad wrote on March 28, 2012: “I remember feeling incredibly embarrassed for him at the time, when he proudly (and somewhat delusionally) recounted his his submission to the UN. This is what I mean by his veneer of credibility – his experience, job position, and running an NGO (which seemed to attract paying members) made him look ideal for reporting to a UN committee. Unfortunately, the reality sounded awful – IRC he again had trouble with timing, and the rapporteur cut him off before he could finish his presentation; I wonder why? I have no doubt that his tatty folder with newspaper cuttings and print-out of his blog went straight in the bin. I think the weight of evidence from his presentations over the years and his coverage of THE NUCLEAR MELTDOWN indicates he has no concept of research skills and takes any contrary discussion a personal attack. :facepalm: ”

      Debito, those guys are simply laughing at the fact that they can write such things about you at the anti-debito site and then come over here and post comments on your site without you noticing what they have written about you.

      When new comments come in to you for approval, I suggest you should use Google to search for the username within that anti-Debito site, to see what they have written about you, before allowing them to post here.

      – Thanks. Sorry, I will not visit the Stalker Site under any circumstances. Thanks for letting me know.

      Meanwhile, Nogbad, you’re a liar, and clearly in good company at the Stalker Site. You do not recall correctly: The Rapporteur (in either case, be it Diene or Bustamante) did not cut me off before I finished my presentation(s) (in fact, Diene joined me for dinner). You can listen to the full report I made to Bustamante as a Debito.org Podcast. You can see the entire contents of the information folder (a brand new one, of course) I gave to Bustamante here. And who takes “newspaper cuttings” these days? For starters. Quite unbecoming conduct for someone whose IP indicates you’re writing from Japan’s National Center of Neurology and Psychiatry. Begone.

    20. Doug Says:

      Hello All

      Regarding the WSJ article…well regardless of the article, I think the new system is good and an improvement. I have PR so the period of stay is not a personal factor but for alot of folks I know, it seems to be a pretty a good deal. Then again not everyone’s situation is the same.

      But, I like the technical stuff so will comment on that.

      Regarding RFID (I am against using the technology in ID cards, in people, etc. but think it is great for tracking inventory, parts, components, etc.). A good book on this subject is “Spychips” by Katherine Albrecht

      1. Those that feel that information can be stolen from cards with RFID technology at reasonable distances do not need to don a “tin foil hat”. Generally data is encrypted on the card, however there are cases where encryption has been compromised and data has been stolen. I guess the question is would someone really want to do this with a Residence Card. A good short and to the point article is below. RFID technology can be read at fairly reasonable distances (I have seen this done in factories).

      http://www.popularmechanics.com/technology/how-to/4206464

      2. There are no laws against “shielding” your data. Wallets offering this protection are readily available. Wrapping in aluminum foil would also create a Faraday Cage and would offer protection as well.

      Responding to DR (I know a bit off topic, but cannot resist and yes Fukushima is much more of a problem than foreigners in Japan)

      Full disclosure. I am pro nuclear power, but…I also was lambasted for a post I wrote that was posted on this board on March 18, 2011 (folks called me a fear mongerer or alarmist) regarding reactor cooling. It was merely a technical discussion of reactor cooling and a speculation as to what was happening and what could (and for the most part, did) happen. Personally I think Fukushima is a catastrophe (from an industry point of view) and the risks are far from over. By the way, for those that call me a “scare mongerer” I visit Tohoku for work frequently, nearly on a monthly basis. I went this month and will go again mid June.

      The spent fuel rods have been recognized by people in the industry from the beginning as the “wildcard”. If the fuel rods do catch fire very dangerous clouds of radioactive material could be released. This is worse than a meltdown (which has already occured).

      However, I think evacuation of all of Japan is to say the least, quite an exaggeration. On the other hand, if the spent rods do catch fire it will be very nasty and there is a chance a very nasty cloud of radioactive material could be blown into Tokyo. This would not be good (an understatement).

      In my original post on March 18, 2011 I stated, “The spent fuel pool fire is interesting and very troublesome. There are no barriers against fission product release if the spent fuel rods are involved in the fire”. To my knowledge, no such barriers have since been constructed.

      Take a look at the simulations, based on actual wind conditions, performed by the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL), (by no means whatsoever an anti nuclear group). Their simulations were proven fairly accurate by actual measuremnts.

      http://www.ral.ucar.edu/nsap/events/fukushima/documents/Session1_Briefing3-Sugiyama.pdf

      If you look at slide 25 you will see that during the evening of March 14 prevailing winds were blowing particles directly into Tokyo. If the spent fuel rods do catch fire (I am talking about a sustained fire, not transient fires like those that have occured) and these wind conditions exist I would venture to say it would be quite a bad deal and would be a very bad deal for Japan.

      Delving further into this subject, a very comprehensive Department of Energy (DOE) report regarding the risks related to spent fuel rods (during unit decommissioning), performed by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) (once again by no means whatsoever an anti nuclear group) can be found in the link below.

      http://www.rogerwitherspoon.com/docs/nrctechstudyosfprrisks-10-2000.pdf

      There is alot of good data in this report and also alot of information in Chapter 4 as to how risk plays into the decision making processes.

      Chapter 5 presents the Summary and Conclusions. It is very important to note that the conclusions in this report (cancer fatality risks in Chapter 3, etc. and the conclusions in Chapter 5) are based on specific units in the study and the units in the study did not use or store MOX fuel rods. I would imagine the conclusions in this study would be quite different if MOX fuel was used at the plants in the study.

      Unit 3 started to use MOX fuel in September 2010.

      (http://www.dcbureau.org/20110315782/natural-resources-news-service/mox-fuel-rods-used-in-japanese-nuclear-reactor-present-multiple-dangers.html).

      The MOX fuel poses a special risk as Plutonium is used in these rods and a small percentage of the Plutonium is consumed.

      I will not try to paraphrase the conclusions in Chapter 5 of the NRC report however it is important to consider.

      a. The units in the NRC study did not use MOX fuel, and
      b. The assumption is the units in this study (or fuel storage system) was not previously damaged or compromised (as is the case at Fukushima).

      A few questions

      a. Can TEPCO prevent a fire (would be interested in a quantitative risk), and
      b. How many MOX spent fuel rods are stored at the facility?

      Should folks evacuate Tokyo? I personally do not think so. Should folks pay attention to what is happening? Heck yes!

      The probability of an event is likely low, however if the event (sustained fire) does occur the consequences could be quite severe. For this reason I certainly hope that TEPCO and the Japanese government consider reducing the risk due to a spent fuel rod fire their top priority and are taking whatever actions are necessary to prevent a fire and contain the by products if a fire does occur.

      Well….based on the last lengthy post I made on this subject, I have the flak jacket on.

      Cheers

      – Thanks Doug, but couldn’t you repost the bulk of this into a pertinent Debito.org post germane to the Fukushima issue? Do it and I’ll edit this post down to what’s germane here.

    21. Mei Nona Says:

      @Anonymous –

      “The 世帯主 is determined by which person in the marriage earns the most money, that’s not sexism, it’s realism.”

      Wrong. In a Japanese-Japanese marriage, the 世帯主 is generally the partner who holds the 戸籍. This can be either spouse, but it is determined at the time the couple marries. If a working wife puts her name on her house-husband’s 戸籍 when they get married, and leave things that way when setting up their 住民票, then he is the 世帯主 even though he doesn’t earn a dime. However, that the couple can choose who is the 世帯主 on their 住民票 when they get one made at city hall. In fact, it is legal for BOTH to list themselves as 世帯主, just as it is legal for an independent adult to list their father or mother as 世帯主 even if they are no longer living in their parents’ house, and regardless of who the 世帯主 for the parent’s house is – in other words, mom & dad live together with dad as 世帯主, junior lives in his own apartment but lists his mother as his 世帯主 – this is perfectly legal (if confusing). In this way if some paperwork needs to be taken care of at city hall, mom can do it on dad & junior’s behalf, and junior & dad can do it on mom’s behalf. But dad would have problems doing it on junior’s behalf, which is why in this situation junior would probably choose his dad as 世帯主, so all of them can act on behalf of everyone else in the family.

      In a foreigner-Japanese marriage, at least under the currently existing system as of this moment, a foreigner can only be 世帯主 for themselves. They cannot be 世帯主 of a Japanese national. However the reverse is not true. A Japanese can be 世帯主 for a foreigner, and couples who knew what they were doing have always set up the Japanese spouse as 世帯主 as doing so gives either partner access to their spouse’s papers and/or the ability to file papers for their spouse at city hall in the same way Japanese couples/families do.

      Which brings us to…

      “The racism is that up until now, gaijins earning more money than their spouses were NOT allowed to be called 世帯主.”

      True, unless BOTH spouses were foreigners, as just as there was no provision under the old system for a foreigner to be a Japanese national’s 世帯主, there was also no provision for a foreigner to be another foreigner’s 世帯主. Except I believe in the case of minor children, in which case the mother (or father, if there was no mother in the family) was the 世帯主 for the children.

      In short, whatever genius came up with the old system never took “foreigners getting married” (to anyone!) into account when writing the laws.

      – I have heard of cases (of NJ-J marriages, to be sure) where the ward office said the only way someone could be 世帯主 had to be the proven breadwinner. It was determined by economics, and made no difference whose 戸籍 it was. And that’s if the bureaucrat in charge was convinced. This is why NJ women, even if they were provably the breadwinner, more often than NJ men were denied any listing (even as a comment) on the juuminhyou just because they were women. They were given no choice by sexist bureaucrats in some localities. I was, however, given 事実上世帯主 status as a NJ on my then-wife’s juuminhyou, even as a J-NJ marriage. Clarifications welcome.

    22. Anonymous Says:

      @Curious

      Your technique, of simply saying “No Time” while continuing to move is good.
      You must have read this thread: http://www.debito.org/?p=5221#comment-221963

      Your question about “proof” of immigration’s intentions can be found in this sentence:
      “平成22(2010)年4月1日以降は,申請の際に窓口で健康保険証の提示を求めることとなります。” Immigration wrote that.

      Now that the kari-juuminhyou shows them the kenko houken info AND the nenkin info, they’ve got us by the balls.
      Of course, I’m not going to enroll in kokumin nenkin until reports start coming in of visa-renewal denials.
      Still, the writing is on the wall, we need to start saving up for the HIGH PROBABILITY that we will be forced to enroll.

      Do you want to risk being deported next year because you didn’t have the required 2 years of back-payments saved up? This is the conversation you are risking: “But, but, Mr. Immigration Officer, nobody posted official conclusive ‘proof’ that immigration was going to actually go through with this plan, so I didn’t actually save up for this eventuality. Will you please be so kind as to give me a special “exception visa” to let me stay here for the next few months while I start saving up 2 years of houken and nenkin back-payments. Maybe my mom can wire me a loan. Wait a minute, are you saying that because I waited until the last day to apply for a visa-renewal, and because my visa-renewal has now been denied for not following the laws of Japan about paying “health taxes” and “pension taxes”, I suddenly am an official OVERSTAYER? Wait, wait, please take these handcuffs off of me. Please don’t deport me immediately! Nobody posted official conclusive ‘proof’ this would happen!”

      At the very least, I suggest applying for your visa-renewal 90 days BEFORE your visa runs out, so that if-and-when immigration says “No Health Taxes, No Pension Taxes, No Visa” you will have time to run over to city hall and enroll. And as mentioned, expect 2 years of back-payments will be demanded for both.

    23. John Says:

      I just got the package of information from the local government about the new registration system. I read it many times and could only find one reference to permanent residency. My wife, son, and I, are all non-Japanese and worked very hard to acquire permanent residency because I want a feeling of security and belonging. But I guess under the new system, the English translation for what we are is “long-term residents” without a given expiration date. I guess I should have seen this coming since the Zainichi who have been here much longer than we have are still not considered real citizens. I think this is a micro-aggression: taking away the word permanent and replacing it with long-term. Maybe I am misreading the information which is certainly not easy for me to understand since it is full of bureaucratic words with arcane meanings. Another problem: the information is wrong. I correct the information every year, but somehow reality does not agree with the computer. When I first came to Japan, I was on national pension and national health care (that I had to pay for myself one year late because the Eikiawa school for which I worked forgot to report me or pay for me). Then I was on a company pension/health insurance plan. Then I returned to national. Then back to a private company plan. Now I am back on national plans. Every year they delete my pension/health care history even though I have been paying diligently since 1999. Another microaggression.

    24. giantpanda Says:

      “True, unless BOTH spouses were foreigners, as just as there was no provision under the old system for a foreigner to be a Japanese national’s 世帯主, there was also no provision for a foreigner to be another foreigner’s 世帯主. Except I believe in the case of minor children, in which case the mother (or father, if there was no mother in the family) was the 世帯主 for the children.”

      Ummm, I have been the 世帯主 for my husband (another NJ) for the past 10 years. When we registered at the city office they insisted that one of us had to be “in charge” despite my protestations that both of us were equally “in charge”. Since I had a job at that stage, I was it. In an entirely NJ household, there still has to be a 世帯主.

      If you are really concerned about the 2 year back payment of health insurance and pension, just move your registration from one ward to another. Borrow a friend’s address if you have to. Then enrol. Payments will start from the day you first registered in the new ward.

    25. Andrew in Saitama Says:

      Looks like my details were asterisked out because I’m on a different pension and insurance scheme, but I’ll go in and check anyway.

      OK, my low-down on head of household – we were told by the council that either my wife or I could be head of household, but it would be harder for the Mrs. to get copies of jumihyo, tohonseki, etc. if I was head. Something about not having a juminhyo…

    26. Hakosukajd Says:

      @John

      I think you are being far too accomodating in using the word microaggression for your pension issues. The actions with regard to your pension seem very much intentional. Forgetting to add you to the roster…maybe. Forgetting to NOT delete you? That would appear to be full on aggressive behavior.

    27. blimp Says:

      @nogbad
      we asked the very same question to MOJ, and they said that the info on the chip will be exactly the same as what is printed on the card.

    28. Bobin Chiba Says:

      Anonymous-san,

      “Do you want to risk being deported next year because you didn’t have the required 2 years of back-payments saved up? ”

      What you bring up here is a very scary predicament indeed. However, from my own experiences here in Chiba (though of course, your mileage may vary) I have doubts that this situation would happen in the way you put it.

      In late 2008, while working for a real estate company in Funabashi, I was let go during the “Leeman shock”, leaving me without any income except for the normal unemployment insurance for about 6 months, then nothing but arubaito for 4 more months. As we all know (or shall I say, I learned then) Tax and various “hoken” payments are judged on last year’s earnings, so without any savings, getting canned is REALLY a crappy experience. To this day, almost 4 years later, I am still behind in tax payments, nenkin payments, and kenkouhoken payments because of that 10 month span. (Grant it, I have no one to blame but myself for not having any kind of savings)

      Yet, I have had no problem renewing my spouse visa during that time, even with the explicit note on the report from the shiyakusho saying that I am behind on taxes (a current requirement to show in visa/ zairyuushikaku renewal) but they also showed that I am working to rectify the situation by listing my (still behind, but at least trying) payments that I negotiated with them. I was actually surprised that they were so understanding in letting me pay only a couple a thousand yen per month over such a long time (with interst of course), and that has really helped get me back on my feet. My visa was renewed without any additional paperwork whatsoever, and I am about to finally file (should have done it 5 years ago) for PR in the next few days, and another extension of my current zairyuushikaku.

      What I am trying to say is that my financial situation is not the best (quite the understatement) but in my experience, working with the guys at city-hall in a positive way (hey guys, sorry but you can’t get blood out of a stone, let’s negotiate!) in my mind, could be a good option for the poor guys that got screwed by their employers regarding nenkin and kenkouhoken.

      My experience may be due to having a spousal visa in some ways,(again, your mileage may vary) but I got the impression that you can negotiate (quite liberally) with the tax guys and various social insurance bureaucrats as long as you’re up front an honest with your situation.

      Hope this helps anyone that is worried about the coming changes. I hope you all can go to the shiyakusho and negotiate like I did.

      Cheers, Bob in Chiba

    29. Hoofin Says:

      The Japan Pension Service sends a report, with some regularity (every couple years?), showing how much has been paid into the pension system.

      What is key about the new residence registration is that there is a process for this data to be collected about foreigners living in Japan. Previously, there was no formal recording system. Now there is.

      Whether or not you get nailed, basically, is up to the Japanese. It seems more likely, now, that there will be an issue if you don’t enroll. “Pay” is another thing.

      It surprises me that the Japanese allow a small number of foreigners living in Japan to go around the internet, encouraging other foreigners not to register in the pension and health care. When you consider what the Japanese have used exclusion orders for, it sounds to me like foreigners going around that country, trying to get others to break the law, would be a thing that visa renewals (or revocation of PR) would be high on the list.

      If a Japanese national were going around America, telling other Japanese not to pay the IRS, I’m sure it would become an issue at some point.

      How come Japan has (apparently) never barred a PR foreigner, or even short-term visa holder, for activity on the internet, telling other foreigners not to follow the law?

    30. Flyjin Says:

      @ anonymous, glad you reminded me of the narrowly averted previously but still lurking “enroll the gaijin in the kokumin kenko hoken including back payments of 2 years in return for the privilege of a new visa” scam. As I recall, it was finally not implemented in 2009 but if it had, I would rather have left than pay 10,000 dollars in back payments. (I did have a friend who managed to worm his way out of the back payments and just started paying from that moment on the grounds of “how can you insure me for the past?” but I think he was just lucky enough to get a local Govt official willing to turn a blind eye.Another friend was not so lucky and was in permanent debt due to crippling installments on back payments of several years.

      It was at times like this that staying in Japan, very clearly, became not worth it- in this case financially, unless you have some kind of very lucrative expat deal.

      It reminds of the old joke in Japanzine about the eikaiwa teacher who, after 5 years, decides to take the plunge and buy his first piece of furniture; a foam sofa from Donkei Hotei! Because who can feel secure under this kind of regime? We must be either ready to up and leave at short notice, or pay an increasingly high cost just to stay and settle here and I am not sure what for anymore.

    31. sendaiben Says:

      @Anonymous

      The kari jyuuminhyou ONLY shows enrollment in kokumin nenkin and kokumin kenkou hoken. I was in both systems for a year when I had a break between jobs. It does not show the other 11 years of kosei nenkin and employer provided health care that I am still in.

      Therefore I do not believe the document can be used to determine whether someone is enrolled in health insurance/pension.

    32. Anonymous Says:

      @Sendaiben

      The kokumin-kenkou-hoken is on the left, and kokumin-nenkin on the right.

      Now, look at the box between kokumin-kenkou-hoken and kokumin-nenkin.

      THAT is where the employer-provided shakai-hoken package is listed.

      Therefore, you need an enrollment date on the left and the right,

      OR you need an enrollment date in the center. All 3 can’t be blank.

      If you ARE in shakai-hoken, but the center date is BLANK, go fix that.

      If you ARE in kokumin-nenkin, but the right date is BLANK, go fix that.

      If you ARE in kokumin-kenkou-hoken, but the left date is BLANK, go fix that.

      Folks, the entire point of this document is to show immigration who isn’t enrolled.

    33. Flyjin Says:

      Hoofin,

      My info is out of date somewhat,dating to the late 90s when this first became an issue, but the conversation about mandatory enrollment of foreigners in Japanese insurance scams, sorry schemes, was along the lines of it not in fact being a law.Therefore no one is encouraging anyone to break the law.

      The law (unless it has since changed) stated that everyone must be enrolled in “some kind of insurance” which at the time it was made, did not envision lots of foreigners coming to Japan and bringing their own non Japanese schemes with them. At the time it referred to Kokumin Kenco Hoken or shakai hoken, as these were the only 2 available.

      I think if they insist on billing someone for back payments of 2 years it is just encouraging NJs to leave, or at least to move house to enroll from scratch in some other city. Damned inconvenient, but doable as long as you are young, free and single.

    34. Anonymous Says:

      @Sendaiben

      I wrote an answer to your comment #31, that should be appearing soon.
      I wrote that the shakai-hoken box is between kokumin-hoken and kokumin-nenkin.
      That was based on a shiyakusho koumuin telling me that middle box is shakai-hoken.

      But just now, I spoke with a different shiyakusho koumuin, and received a different answer.
      That box is for people between the ages of 60 and 65, totally different than what I was told.

      So, this kari-juuminhyou IS totally worthless, it doesn’t tell who is enrolled in shakai-hoken.
      I’m very happy to have been wrong about this: immigration did NOT get the information they want.
      People enrolled in NOTHING will have 3 big blanks, people in shakai-hoken will have 3 big blanks.

      Hmmm, but people who ARE enrolled in kokumin-hoken who AREN’T enrolled in kokumin-nenkin, will lose.
      Ha, how ironic. The people who ARE enrolled in kokumin-hoken can now be forced to join kokumin-nenkin.
      The people who AREN’T enrolled in anything will be able to act like they are enrolled in shakai-hoken.

      So, here’s my corrected statement: people who ARE enrolled in kokumin-hoken, get ready to enter kokumin-nenkin!
      People who aren’t enrolled in anything, at ease! Oh wait, Hoofin, does that comment make me an accessory to a crime?

    35. Hiroshima Taro Says:

      I have the feeling the 世帯主 thing has a bit of sexism to it, but my wife was positively pleased to see that she will now be 妻. Sometimes people like traditional family roles even if they do end up being sexist (though she is still 100% against being called お前.)

      Question about juminhyo formats: Are they the same for every town, and are the things they list set in stone? I’ve lived in one ward in an “ordinance-designated city” and two towns, and all of them use different paper, headers, and fonts for their forms. One time I went to get an official copy of my foreigner registration the person at the desk asked me what information I specifically wanted/needed on the form. This implied to me that she had the power to add or remove certain fields every time she printed it out and led me to believe that this was true in all of the forms they print out (presumably the juminhyo, too), but does anybody actually know for sure?

      I was wondering if the kari-juminhyo were just listing all of that extraneous visa and insurance information so that you can double-check that all of the information is correct, and that when you actually need one printed out when buying a car or whatever that information would not necessarily be on there.

    36. Anonymous Says:

      @Flyjin

      You’re about to get schooled by Hoofin.

      “It’s a tax, you MUST pay either ‘kokumin-kenkou-hoken & kokumin-nenkin’ or ‘shakai-hoken’.”

      “And all those people who are NOT paying that tax should be imprisoned and/or deported.”

      “And anyone giving advice about avoiding it should also be imprisoned and/or deported.”

    37. Anonymous Says:

      About 世帯主, I think this is the simplest way to think about it:

      Any couple can choose 世帯主 at anytime by submitting a paper saying “the wife earns more” or “the husband earns more.”

      The sexism is that until the couple actually submits that paper making that change, the default setting is 世帯主=husband.

      The racism is that until this kari-juuminhyou came along, a J+NJ couple could only make the NJ be labeled 事実上世帯主.

    38. Sheila McGee Says:

      I think I`ll wait and see how this plays out before deciding to join the NHI or not.

    39. Flyjin Says:

      @ Anon. Deported? Oh, yes please. It really does not sound such a bad option instead of paying 10000 USD to be “insured for the past’! The J company I work for will be most inconvenienced though.

    40. Mei Nona Says:

      @Anonymous 36 – Are those proposals problematic in some way? How are Japanese National Health ad Pension plans any different from such plans anywhere else? Would you advocate that a foreigner living and working in the US not pay into Social Security? There is no choice there – employers MUST deduct social security payments, and workers MUST be enrolled in the Social Security system. Anyone working in Canada or the UK MUST pay into National Health through their income taxes. These are not “opt in” systems.

      There ARE issues with foreign enrollment in Japanese National Health and Pension plans. Those issues are unscrupulous companies that game the system by claiming their full-time employees are “part time” and therefore they (the company) are under no obligation to enroll employees in National Health and pay 50% of the costs. They (companies) got away with this because the Japanese government largely turned a blind eye to this practice. However, if one is living and working in Japan one is legally obligated to be enrolled in one or the other of the two health and pension plans available. That is the law.

      And before someone pulls out (as they always do) the old “but a lot of JAPANESE don’t pay!!!”… No, some do not. And? If you are driving a car and get caught speeding, has “but a lot of other people are speeding too!” ever been a successful argument to get out of getting a ticket? No? Didn’t think so. Should Japan crack down on Japanese who are not enrolled? Yes. Does this mean they should not crack down on non-enrolled foreigners until/unless they crack down on non-enrolled Japanese? No.

    41. Welp Says:

      I’m listed as the 世帯主 on my 住民票. My wife, a Japanese citizen, is just listed as 妻. There’s also no furigana (not even a space for it) although there is one for 通称. Also none of my insurance information is listed as I am on 社会保険 apparently – there is only space for 国民保険.

      The one thing I do find odd is that they don’t even bother listing foreigners’ previous residences. I’ve been living here for almost 5 years and the best guess anyone will have according to the form is July 9th 2012. Seems a bit backward, but I guess that’s to be expected by now.

    42. Hoofin Says:

      To some of the comments above, I am familiar with the anti-enrollment arguments. Really, to the point of being bored with those.

      There has been this big debate as to whether the hokens are a “tax”. They are technically a mandatory contribution. So what is that? A tax. (This is the nonsense going on right now in the U.S. Supreme Court as to whether the surcharge that applies to people in 2014 who don’t have health insurance is a tax or not. It is something the government stands to collect. What else is it?)

      I know that some of the community of foreigners convinced themselves that enrolling in the pension and health insurance wasn’t required. No one chased them down, and so that was their proof. In fact, some business-type people built whole cottage industries around the fact that they could dodge the health insurance and pension contributions, if they got their employees to do the same. They make convoluted arguments about how this is actually better for all involved. They ignore the fact that Japan is backstopping any major illness, and that the folks back home are on the hook for the difference between the pension and poverty. (In the US this is through SSI and something called the “90% bend point” in social security.) Just more socialist-capitalists looking for ways to make money by pushing off costs on to the rest of us, through manipulating government programs that they are supposed to support with their own money, too. Not as bad as the Big Banks, but . . .

      With the new Z-card and these databases that are being checked, I think it’s clear that nonenrollment is going to be something that will be more noticed in the future. I think the J-government is basically going to give you the information right when you get registered. So the price of screwing around is about to go up.

      When I was there, I enrolled, and I paid into the pension and health insurance. In fact, when I moved to Chuo-ku, the worker at the counter seemed a little stiff, and I felt that she thought I hadn’t previously enrolled (so that there would be that arrearage on the computer terminal). But when she looked me up, I was right at paid-in-full.

      You cannot get major medical for what Japan charges you in kenko hoken, if you new to there or making Eikaiwa money. You cannot buy anything that will allow you to catch up on pension if you miss paying in 10 years. You may be able to save up some money, but nothing like what it costs to get a life annuity with inflation protection. You end up cheating yourself, and making it harder for everyone else for whom you bid down wages against, because you (and your employer) don’t pay what you should.

    43. Anonymous Says:

      Penalizing one group of people, while not penalizing another group of people, is discrimination.

    44. Bob Says:

      Mei Nona:
      It does mean they should not crack down on non-enrolled foreigners until/unless they crack down on non-enrolled Japanese, in fact. What we are looking at here is nationality-based selective enforcement of laws, that is, state-sponsored discrimination under law. It’s the same conceptually as police sending black folks to prison for decades for drug dealing while letting their white partners in crime go free. It’s absolutely wrong and a poison on the fabric of our society. You’re saying state sponsored discrimination is OK as long as the victims violate an otherwise unenforced law. Do you have any idea how many unenforced laws there are, banning behavior you engage in every day? This is essentially why there is such a huge racial justice gap in most so-called “developed” countries.

    45. Mei Nona Says:

      @Bob – the laws are not “unenforced” as regards Japanese, they are not rigidly enforced. The government does not go around knocking on doors of Japanese citizens to check if they are paying into the system or not. True. However they will lean on someone who they find is not paying into the system to get enrolled in one of the two systems. However, there are no criminal penalties for not being enrolled, true. There probably should be, just as there are criminal penalties for income tax evasion, but at this point there are not. Which means there is not a lot they can hit a Japanese citizen with. Can’t throw them in jail, can’t deport them.

      Voluntary immigrants are another matter. A State has every right to say “These are the rules we expect you to play by in order to live here. Don’t like those rules? Then you don’t get to live here.” That’s fair.

      – No, that’s not fair. Everyone is equal before the law. That’s just how nation-states enforce laws upon people who are in a weakened status with fewer rights because they do not have citizenship.

      You can argue that that’s the nature of the beast (since nation-states have the sovereignty to decide who is a member and who is not), but don’t argue that enforcing the laws for one set of people but not for another is somehow objectively or normatively “fair”. You can justify a lot with that ideology (including racial discrimination) if you do, and that is not welcome at this blog.

      PS: In that vein, I notice that you’re using a floating IP that comes up in the stopforumspam.com database as a disposable one, used by 23 different users in the past year. I’m adding it to my spam filter. Either use your real IP when you comment or don’t bother commenting.

    46. Anonymous Says:

      The penalties for non-paying citizens (letters) are different than the penalties for non-paying non-citizens (deportation).

      But leaving the deportation penalty difference aside for the moment, let’s think about the “speeding” analogy above.

      Checking which non-citizens are “speeding”, while NOT checking which citizens are “speeding”: this is discrimination.

      Checking which non-citizens are “not-enrolled”, while NOT checking which citizens are “not-enrolled”: this is discrimination.

      Non-citizen-Juuminhyou with kokuho+kokunen info, while citizen-Juuminhyou WITHOUT kokuho+kokunen info: this is discrimination.

    47. Flyjin Says:

      “These are the rules we expect you to play by in order to live here. Don’t like those rules? Then you don’t get to live here.”

      Well, errr, ok maybe. But then it no longer becomes worthwhile for me or my business to stay here, I will move to China along with many others.Bye.
      Oh, and about that radiation issue…

      I thought, J Gov, you said you wanted more overseas businesspeople, more “high level” expats coming here.

      Do you expect them to pay 10 000 USD in kokumin kenco hoken as well? And a pension they will not stay to collect (unless they leave within 3 years and apply to get it back?)

      It is not even about giving rights to NJs, it is just about being economically competitive and making this an attractive place for NJ investors and business people.

      Currently Japan retains its “pain in the azz” with racist undertones image. Difficult to deal with, ridiculous costs, of which this is but another stealth tax on gaijins. Hardly good for business I would have thought. Now China has opened up, Shanghai and Beijing become the locations of choice for many western companies.

      Japan is just another market, but a difficult one to crack. That is why companies like Boots, Vodafone,etc tried, failed and no longer bother.

    48. Hoofin Says:

      There is register for the pension, and there is PAY the pension. No one seems to argue that they should register, the way Japanese have to, and then see how the collection goes.

      If you have the Blue Book, it eliminates one excuse that an employer has for not enrolling you in Shakai Hoken.

    49. Steve Says:

      From #34

      –So, this kari-juuminhyou IS totally worthless, it doesn’t tell who is enrolled in shakai-hoken.
      I’m very happy to have been wrong about this: immigration did NOT get the information they want.
      People enrolled in NOTHING will have 3 big blanks, people in shakai-hoken will have 3 big blanks.
      Hmmm, but people who ARE enrolled in kokumin-hoken who AREN’T enrolled in kokumin-nenkin, will lose.

      Ha, how ironic. The people who ARE enrolled in kokumin-hoken can now be forced to join kokumin-nenkin.

      The people who AREN’T enrolled in anything will be able to act like they are enrolled in shakai-hoken.

      So, here’s my corrected statement: people who ARE enrolled in kokumin-hoken, get ready to enter kokumin-nenkin!

      People who aren’t enrolled in anything, at ease! Oh wait, Hoofin, does that comment make me an accessory to a crime?—

      This is VERY good to hear.

      Thanks.

    50. Anonymous Says:

      @Hoofin

      I’m a little surprised by the contradiction between your previous “law abiding” advice and your new advice:

      Law-Abiding
      “The Japanese government should PENALIZE foreigners online who tell people not to follow the law.”
      “Imagine if a Japanese national online in America were to tell Japanese how to avoid paying the IRS.”
      http://www.debito.org/?p=10242#comment-330116

      Law-Avoiding
      “Psst, here’s an easy way to avoid paying those pesky mandatory taxes: simply enroll but DON’T PAY!”
      http://www.debito.org/?p=10242#comment-330715

      Perhaps, albeit unconsciously, you are assuming: non-enrollment is un-lawful but non-payment is lawful?

      Don’t get me wrong, I’m PLEASANTLY surprised to see you telling us how to avoid following tax-payment-law.

      I love your idea, and I’m probably going to use it: simply enroll, then don’t pay, like 30% of Japanese.

      Mere letters will be sent, threatening the possibility of property loss, with 0.1% chance of actualization.

      This “enroll but don’t pay” advice will satisfy immigration, because the kari-juuminhyou will say “enrolled”.

      Remember, the “nozeishoumeisho+kazeishoumeisho” documents don’t tell immigration whether you’re paying kokuho+kokunen.

      This is a great idea about how to avoid paying kokuho+kokunen, without getting caught, thanks Hoofin!

      How ironic, “like a Japanese national online in America, telling Japanese how to avoid paying the IRS.” :)

    51. Hoofin Says:

      @anonymous:

      No, that second comment was simply meant for the people who raise this argument, that until the Japanese government catches every Japanese who is in arrears, then they themselves shouldn’t have to pay. It ignores the alternative, which is to enroll, and then face the Japanese collection efforts in whatever strength they may be.

      When people talk about discrimination as a reason for non-enrollment, it’s a little silly. It’s not that the people don’t want to enroll, it’s that they don’t want to pay. But they set up the debate in such a way that they get to skip over what the Japanese themselves all have to do: enroll. In fact, I think the enrollment is based off the fact that they are on the residence registers. Now that NJ will be too, there you go.

      A couple of people sent comments to my own webpage about their not being contacted by NHI yet. That’s not my point. The fact that they are naked when it comes to Japanese health insurance is a point that is going to be more apparent now, to certain ward or prefecture officials, than it was before. It will not be like it was before, because now different players have the pressure on them when your columns register zeros.

      Everyone discounts the possibility that there will just be a mass registration of every foreigner who isn’t on the books.

    52. Anonymous Says:

      Well, Hoofin, you wrote, “I keep urging people to sign-up for these, even if you don’t pay them.”

      http://hoofin.wordpress.com/2012/05/23/does-the-new-japanese-residence-card-for-foreigners-contain-information-about-pension-and-health-insurance/

      To me, that seems akin to telling someone “Sign up for a social security number, even if you don’t pay.”
      And that just seems that you’re ironically equal to your analogy of a Japanese giving such advice online.
      And it seems HIGHLY ironic that a few days ago you said people giving such advice online should face penalties.

      “Merely signing-up” for kokuho+kokunen results in immigration seeing “enrolled” on the kari-juuminhyou.
      “Merely signing-up” results in visa-renewal, since immigration does not require a document proving payment.
      “Merely signing-up” fools immigration’s visa-renewal enforcement system, which we have been discussing here.

      Again, for those just joining the discussion, if you simply want to get your visa renewed, here’s the summary:

      On the kari-juuminhyou, people not enrolled in anything will appear like people enrolled in shakai-hoken: all blank.
      On the kari-juuminhyou, people who “are enrolled in kokuho but not in kokunen” will be clearly shown as illegal.
      On the kari-juuminhyou, people who “are enrolled in kokunen but not in kokuho” will be clearly shown as illegal.

      So, for now, until immigration writes a new “guideline”, those not enrolled in anything at all won’t be noticed.
      Ironically, people who are enrolled halfway (i.e. JUST kokuho, or JUST kokunen) will probably be strong-armed.
      If/when immigration strong-arms you by saying “Enroll 100% before we consider your application” then just enroll.
      What we have been forgetting, until Hoofin kindly pointed it out, is that enrollment can be done without payment.
      You can simply go sign-up for kokuho+kokunen and make a “payment-plan-PROMISE” about the 2-years-back-payments.

      Of course, if immigration ever starts requiring proof of PAYMENT: then of course we will have to pay, with interest.

      So, obviously, to minimize the total amount owed, one should NOT sign-up until immigration strong-arms you.

      That’s where your advice is slightly flawed, Hoofin, you wrote “Enroll now, to be on the right side of the divide.”
      Enrolling earlier than needed means paying more than needed. Why enroll 3 years early? Logically, one should wait.
      Japan isn’t giving out any rewards or kudos to gaijin who enroll early, no rewards or kudos for payment either.

      Now here’s a question many readers will be interested in, “Does the kokuho+kokunen clock stop when you leave Japan?”

      Hoofin, you diligently enrolled and paid kokuho+kokunen, then IBM Japan’s illegal-termination forced you home, right?
      Well, if you were to telephone the kokuho section and the kokunen section today, I think you would be very surprised.

      My hypothesis is that they will say, “Even though you are no longer receiving our invoices, the clock is still running.”
      Meaning, once you have enrolled in kokuho+kokunen, you aren’t allowed to “opt out for a year or two back in America.”
      Probably they will say, “Hoofin-san, you left Japan BUT the bills here are continuing to grow, with compound interest!”

      I would like to be wrong about this. Can you Hoofin, or another “moved out of Japan” person, confirm or disprove this fear?

    53. Hoofin Says:

      @anonymous

      You are right that IBM Japan’s illegal termination (by not honoring the Cognos March 7, 2008 contract) forced me back to America.

      However, when I left Japan, my status of residence in Japan also disappeared. Japan could only bill me up to December 20, 2010.

      Clearly, by the US-Japan totalization agreement, I could not be subject to both national pension in Japan and U.S. social security at the same time. I pay social security here.

      I just want to re-emphasize that I believe people should enroll AND pay. But the “pay” part is the one that is mostly the controversy with people who don’t do both. IF they don’t pay, they should at least ENROLL. This way, if they are in a situation where the employer is denying them Shakai, it won’t be because they haven’t done their thing.

      I presented my Blue Book to my major employers in Japan; where they enrolled people in general, I was also enrolled. Obviously, I also paid.

    54. Anonymous Says:

      @Hoofin

      Thanks for explaining that.

      So you feel confident that the kokuho section stopped the clock on the day you departed Japan.
      And you feel confident that the kokunen section stopped the clock on the day you departed Japan.
      And clearly, you feel confident that the US-Japan totalization agreement makes them stop the clock.
      The assumption you are making is: that upon your departure both sections received orders to stop the clock.
      The assumption is: there is a process in place, delivering information from immigration to those two sections.

      Well guess what, I just called the kokuho section right now, and they explained the situation is just as I feared.
      The kokuho section and the koknen section have ABSOLUTELY NO WAY of knowing that you have returned to America.
      Both sections have been KEEPING THE CLOCK RUNNING since you left on December 20, 2010, with compound interest.

      So, my hypothesis was correct, you have 2 big growing unpaid bills waiting for you back here in Japan Hoofin.
      But don’t worry, I also asked how you can clear it up: you simply must send them a copy of your passport’s departure stamp.

      So anyone who has turned in your ARC at the airport, if you were in Kokuho, if you were in Kokunen, you are STILL enrolled!
      To actually un-enroll yourself from Kokuho + Kokunen, you have to send them a copy of your passport’s departure stamp.

      Now get ready for this folks, I just now called the Shimin-ka, the section that will handle our juuminhyous from July.
      If the Shimin-ka manager I just now spoke with is telling the truth, we have 3 surprising things to be happy about.

      #1 That “check for mistakes” version was titled “kari-juuminhyou”, but from July there will be no “kari” appellation.
      We will be receiving REAL juuminyous, from the REAL shimin-ka section, just like “REAL” Japanese receive.

      #2 That “check for mistakes” version entitled “kari-juuminhyou” included kokuho enrollment and kokunen enrollment info,
      but the real juuminhyous which we can have printed from July will NOT have the info printed. Thank goodness!
      Immigration will NOT be able to use our juuminhyous to see who is “enrolled in kokuho but not enrolled kokunen.”
      Immigration will NOT be able to use our juuminhyous to see who is “enrolled in kokunen but not enrolled kokuho.”
      That enrollment info printed on the “kari-juuminhyou” was a one-time occurrence, it won’t appear on our real juuminhyous.

      #3 That kokuho enrollment and kokunen enrollment info does NOT EVEN EXIST in the Shimin-ka database, amazingly.
      So how did the Shimin-ka manage to print those “kari-juuminhyous” which contained that information?
      The Shimin-ka manager says they did a one-time print which merged fields from the 3 separate databases.
      The Shimin-ka manager says only the people who received the “kari-juuminhyous” can see all that info together.
      The Shimin-ka manager says that his Shimin-ka section has NO way of seeing who is enrolled, neither Js nor NJs.
      The Shimin-ka has NOT been deputized to know who is enrolled (J nor NJ) thus can NOT print that on Juuminhyous (J nor NJ).

      Wonderful.

      PS – Hoofin, I applaud your good advice about “at least enrolling”, I understand you hope we’ll PAY too.
      And yes, enrolling in kokunen (with a mere promise to pay the 2 back-years) instantly gets you “the blue book.”
      And yes, placing “the blue book” on your company’s Jinji-bu manager’s desk will motivate him to enroll you in shakai-hoken.
      So yes, your advice in general is very good Hoofin, please forgive the fact I found one little thing to rib you about.
      I simply don’t think people telling people how to avoid paying pension should be penalized as accessories to crime. :)

      The reason is: people who don’t pay pension will simply not receive pension when they get old, so no victim.
      Governments illegally dip into pension funds, and then force the next generation to bailout that illegal dipping.
      The governments’ illegal dipping is the real reason why grandmas’ and grandpas’ pension money has disappeared.
      The governments try to hide this fact by talking about “Not enough young people” and “Not enough people paying.”

      Grandmas’ and grandpas’ money was supposed to have been diligently guarded, invested, and increased.
      Instead, each successive generation is forced to bailout the government who SPENT grandmas’ and grandpas’ money.
      Folks who don’t pay pension: don’t receive pension. No robbery. “No thanks Gov, we’ll save for OUR future OURSELVES.” :)

    55. Flyjin Says:

      Hoofin, why cant we just use our own non Japanese insurance schemes? As we are leaving soon, and Japan does not want us to stay anyway!

      Why am I forced to “act Japanese” in terms of healthcare while I am here, and yet be excluded and othered in other areas? Maybe I just want to remain in my visiting western expat bubble as a result of previous slights,exclusions and othering (with no disrespect to pioneering settlers like Debito). I am here for the job, not the Japan experience.

      It has been discussed before but lets say I want to go to an English speaking clinic and see a British doctor due to “cultural differences” or preferences, or to discuss British health matters and systems on the NHS which a Japanese doctor would not know of, like the British Clinic in Shibuya, which does not accept Japanese insurance.

      Maybe I want to get quick fix antibiotics and not be forced to take the slower “herbal” remedies that some J doctors have pushed on me in their insisted clinging on to “national tradition.”

      If you call me a gaijin and a flyjin, I want that gaijin medical care.

      Why is there no freedom of choice? (Well, because the liberalization of this industry/market in Japan is a low priority for western/American gaiatsu, thats why!)

    56. Curious Says:

      Well, although I don’t pay pension (I am enrolled because of some past employer) I get an ever-increasing bill each month. I don’t expect that to disappear when I leave. (My reasons for not paying are posted by others above.)

      However, I also called the city office and asked about Kokumin Kenko Hoken and they told me if I file a TENSHUTSU TODOKE (a ‘leaving the country notice’) then they will stop the requirements to pay for health insurance. I will be able to keep my PR status as long as I come back to renew my re-entry permit periodically.

      When I come back at some later date to take up residence again, I will not be hit with a running total, tallied from the day I left. My wife was informed by the pension desk that she can put a hold on her pension payments while she is away. In fact, she did that once already while we were out of Japan for a few years.

      So if you have PR status, you should consider keeping it even if you are leaving the country. It only takes a visit within the re-entry permit time designation (3 years now, and 5 years from this July.)

    57. Hoofin Says:

      @ anonymous:

      You say about what I said:

      The assumption you are making is: that upon your departure both sections received orders to stop the clock.

      The assumption is: there is a process in place, delivering information from immigration to those two sections.

      No, no. Regardless of whether the local office has updated its records, the clock stops when you no longer have status of residence. Additionally, the totalization agreement governs for citizens of the respective totalizing countries.

      The Japan Pension Service knows that I am not in Japan anymore; so, really, I don’t worry about it.

      The local health insurance desk may still be billing, if they didn’t get my letter, but that’s not my problem. Without status of residence, I can’t be liable for the bill.

      Someone later in the thread mentions about PR. I was not PR. PR obviously means permanent resident. That means you’re a resident, even when you’re not physically there. That has its own set of issues about the national pension and health insurance.

      Your commentary seems to assume that somehow it’s “bad” to have the clock running in any event. Well, not necessarily. The older you are, the better a deal the employer pension (Shakai Hoken pension part) or even the national pension (kokumin nenkin) is. For someone 59 years, 11 months, than 15,100 yen payment comes back to them in less than 10 years. You can’t buy a life annuity where you get cash flow back in 9 1/4 years. Normally, it’s more like 20 or 25—especially in this era of very low interest rates. (You need more assets to generate the same amount of interest.)

      For people who are totally shirking the pension, you think it’s better to dodge as long as they can, because supposedly, there’s only the “mere promise to pay the 2 back-years”. That rule isn’t in stone. In some cases, it’s a matter of getting billed all the way back to the start of status of residence. The fact still remains that the sooner one obtains the Blue Book, the more likely it is that an employer can be held for the “mistake”, rather than the individual. If the ward office comes to you later, you can always say, “my employer should have done this!” and give the employer’s name.

      You seem to be really hung up about paying cash versus accruing a liability. If someone felt they were going to owe the IRS, the advice any good CPA would give would still be: file. You acknowledge the liability, and you work it out with the IRS. Similarly, with the Japan social insurances, people should at least enroll.

      Finally, you seem to think that dodging a national pension program means that no one gets hurt. Far from it. What usually happens is that that individual has to fall back on other government programs (like SSI here in America). They also caused wages to be bid down, because they underbid the people who were playing by the rules (both employers and employees).

      I’m sorry that you feel that making insinuations, and comments that I am saying something other than what I am, is the way to discuss the very real issues surrounding the fact that the Japanese are lax about making their various pension programs available to non-Japanese. I will be happy to follow up with you off-board if you think I am wrong about that.

    58. Hoofin Says:

      @ Flyjin

      This is an old one. The British Clinic cannot offer or assure you the full range of services that the Japanese health system can. The people who run with the gap insurance know that there is an implicit backstop of their major medical liabilities with the Japanese health care system. In fact, the gap policies all insinuate that they won’t be on the hook for any major medical charges, and they all know to “advise” you to go run down to your ward office and enroll if it looks like you are going to be a big liability to them. In some cases, even, it’s been reported that the gap insurer will pay the arrearage, just to get you to onto someone else’s books.

      You can create all sorts of elegant stories for why the dodge should be permitted; but, in the end, it’s still a dodge.

    59. Curious Says:

      Hoofin – Yes, not paying pension is ‘a dodge.’ I also don’t pay NHK. That’s a dodge, too. To be honest, half of my motivations are my desire to not pay anything more than I have to. (The other motivating factors are political.)

      I’m self-employed. I don’t have the big wings of a mother corporation to protect me from the rain. I have months of the year in which I my income puts me well below the poverty line. I don’t get any subsidies, and I have no ties to the bureaucracy like so many companies established in the industry.

      I’m not complaining, but I’m not too bashful to admit that I will cut corners when I can. And in the case of NHK and pension – I don’t feel a single shred of guilt because I have no voting power or say in how that money is used (or abused in the case of Japan.)

      However, Hoofin, you write, “The fact still remains that the sooner one obtains the Blue Book, the more likely it is that an employer can be held for the “mistake”, rather than the individual. If the ward office comes to you later, you can always say, “my employer should have done this!” and give the employer’s name.”

      Your self-righteous logic eludes me. You imply that dodging the pension is bad, and yet you would put the burden of back-payments on your employer? As a former employer, I find that reprehensible.

    60. Flyjin Says:

      Hoofin, maybe I just do not trust Japanese doctors and hospitals and their “full” range of services? They never tell you directly if something is seriously wrong, maybe that is cultural. Also they removed a cancerous tumor which left a major scar as their modus operandi was old school; if I had had the operation in certain other countries there would have been far less of a scar.

      Japan is the country that did not allow birth control pills until comparatively recently. Still now, many drugs are not available “because they are too strong for Japanese bodies”. Well, maybe because some drugs I have been prescribed have been too weak to be effective.

      I went to three different Japanese hospitals a total of ten times over a 10 week period once for an arthritic-related condition. None of the doctors had a clue what was wrong, though they charged me of course, according to them “Your condition is rare in Japan though it may be common in your home country”

      So I rest my case: I do not trust Japanese doctors. Hey, its not “racist”, it is just “personal choice’! (Oh the irony). So kokumin Kenco Hoken is useless for me.

    61. Anonymous Says:

      Hoofin, your advice to Debito readers, in comment 57 above, is not so good.

      Problem #1
      You wrote, “The local health insurance desk may still be billing, if they didn’t get my letter, but that’s not my problem. Without status of residence, I can’t be liable for the bill.”

      So you sent some section a letter saying “I’m leaving soon”, or saying “I left recently”, but you didn’t call like I did, you didn’t realize that they need PROOF of departure, you didn’t realize that they need a COPY of the page in passport showing the DEPARTURE STAMP. I’ve explained to you that there is currently an ever-growing bill on their books in your name, you say “Not my problem.” You’re not going to officially stop the clock and officially clear that debt? What happened to your main thrust about “not doing things which make us gaikokujin look bad” and “being on the right side of the divide”? Right now, officially, on the books, until you send them the proof they need, you are “another delinquent gaikokujin who owes 18 months of unpaid health insurance plus compound interest.” Please Hoofin, send them the proof they need to stop the health clock and clear that debt which is a statistical embarrassment to gaikokujin.

      Problem #2
      You wrote, “Your commentary seems to assume that somehow it’s ‘bad’ to have the clock running in any event. Well, not necessarily. The older you are, the better a deal the employer pension (Shakai Hoken pension part) or even the national pension (kokumin nenkin) is. For someone 59 years, 11 months, than 15,100 yen payment comes back to them in less than 10 years.”

      Whoa, whoa, whoa. If your pension clock is still running, if the unpaid bills are still piling up on your name in that section too (meaning, you didn’t “pause” the pension payments with the TENSHUTSU TODOKE as nicely explained by Curious in comment 56) why are you now saying this is a good thing? Think it through Hoofin, as mentioned in Problem #1, you’re again making gaikokujin look bad by having this big unpaid bill in your Romaji name, AND this technique is NOT going to result in you “starting to receive pension payouts sooner”, because OBVIOUSLY those who haven’t paid their entire pension bill are NOT going to receive any pension payouts. Were you assuming that years from now, even though you have a huge unpaid bill because you do what was needed to didn’t stop the clock, you think they are just going to say “Well, it’s been 25 years since you enrolled, so here’s your first monthly payout, enjoy!” Of course not, they’re going to say “you have to pay those delinquent years FIRST, before you receive any payouts.”

      Problem #3
      You wrote, “Finally, you seem to think that dodging a national pension program means that no one gets hurt.”

      Wait a second Hoofin. I just realized something. After you were illegally-terminated by IBM Japan, you were jobless for over 6 months in Japan, correct? I know this because I tried to help you find a job. During that time, did you pay either shakai hoken or kokuho+kokunen? I think the answer is no, since you had no job you had no money to pay those final 6 months before leaving Japan. Are you assuming that you didn’t have to pay that since you were unemployed? Once you ENROLL, you have to pay, even when jobless. So looking at Problem #1 above (an unpaid bill for Health that has been piling up AFTER you left) and looking at Problem #2 above (an unpaid bill for Pension that has been piling up AFTER you left) we have this heretofore unmentioned Problem #3 (unpaid bills for both Health and Pension that occurred even BEFORE you left.)

      The reason I am saying all this Hoofin, is because people take your advice, so you need to be giving correct advice, and because you are so harsh on people who don’t enroll, so you should be equally harsh on yourself for being, on the books, SOMEONE WHO ISN’T PAYING THEIR BILLS.

      – Let’s draw this debate to a close soon.

    62. Hoofin Says:

      It’s like I said in #57:

      I will be happy to follow up with you off-board if you think I am wrong about that.

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