DEBITO.ORG
Arudou Debito/Dave Aldwinckle's Home Page

New ebooks by ARUDOU Debito

  • Book IN APPROPRIATE: A novel of culture, kidnapping, and revenge in modern Japan
  • Freechoice.jp: MOJ removes “health insurance” as guideline for visas

    Posted by Dr. ARUDOU, Debito on March 5th, 2010

    Handbook for Newcomers, Migrants, and Immigrants to Japan\Foreign Residents and Naturalized Citizens Association forming NGO\「ジャパニーズ・オンリー 小樽入浴拒否問題と人種差別」(明石書店)JAPANESE ONLY:  The Otaru Hot Springs Case and Racial Discrimination in Japansourstrawberriesavatardebitopodcastthumb
    UPDATES ON TWITTER: arudoudebito
    DEBITO.ORG PODCASTS now on iTunes, subscribe free

    Hi Blog.  Time for some good news, for a change.  After some negotiations, the MOJ has dropped the requirement that people be enrolled in Japanese health insurance programs.  So sez Freechoice.jp below.

    Now, while I acknowledge that this source has a conflict of interest (being funded by the very overseas agencies that want to sell health insurance, meaning their motives are not altruistic; its claim that they are the only news source on this is a bit suss too, given the Japan Times reported this development last February), this requirement for visas would have forced many people, who hadn’t paid in due to negligent employers, to back pay a lot of money just for a visa renewal.  That it is no longer a requirement is good news, and now that we have formal acknowledgment of such in writing from the GOJ is the final nail.  Courtesy of Aly.  Arudou Debito in Sapporo

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

    On 2010/03/03, at 16:34, “Free Choice” wrote:

    Good news! We petitioned against the Immigration Bureau guideline linking social insurance to visa renewal – and we’ve won! The fruits of our labors together have been realized. Guideline No. 8 has been officially deleted as of today, March 3, 2010. The newly revised (showing seven instead of the present eight) guidelines is now posted on the Ministry of Justice’s website.

    While the Immigration Bureau will continue to require non-permanent residents to present an insurance card at the visa application window, not doing so will cause no negative effect whatsoever upon an individual’s visa renewal. (The guideline never applied to permanent residents; as previously, they are not required to present an insurance card at all.) Although Immigration will encourage enrollment in Japan’s social system by distributing brochures, individual offices and officers are “forbidden” to pressure anyone to join. In fact, the new guidelines state clearly that “enrollment in the social system will in no way be tied to visa renewal.” Additionally, the Ministry of Justice will set up a new hotline to field complaints from visa applicants who feel that they were in any way pressured or coerced to enroll.

    The Japan Times, Daily Yomiuri, and other media have yet to report that the guideline ‘was’ (past tense) deleted. It would seem that Free Choice has the jump on the news – again. That’s because, due to your invaluable support, we ARE the news! The foreign community united together in standing up to the bureaucracy and our voices were heard. We at the Free Choice Foundation would once again like to express our heartfelt thanks to you for your participation in this important issue.

    For further information please visit the Free Choice website:

    http://www.freechoice.jp/

    To download the new guidelines, please go here:

    http://www.moj.go.jp/NYUKAN/nyukan70.pdf

    As you can see, No. 8 is gone!

    Kindest regards,
    Ronald Kessler, Chairman
    The Free Choice Foundation

    P.S.: Please feel free to forward this email to any family or friends that may have an interest in this breaking news.

    ENDS

    30 Responses to “Freechoice.jp: MOJ removes “health insurance” as guideline for visas”

    1. Deepspacebeans Says:

      This doesn’t seem to be the right answer, if this is indeed how they chose to address the problem. They should have had the mandate for coverage and then waived the back-payments were the applicant able to demonstrate their own private coverage they had been under previously. They could have also allowed for waived back-payments for those who could have been deemed to be in financial need.

    2. AIB Says:

      This could have been a good thing, a chance to crack down on unscrupulous employers, although I have doubts that it would have been used as such.

      The author not disclosing his vested interests, and other “news” sites not disclosing this information most likely because the company is an advertiser is down right unethical on both parts.

    3. debito Says:

      UPDATE FROM FREECHOICE:

      On 2010/03/04, at 22:26, “Free Choice Foundation” wrote:

      I know we contacted you just yesterday but the Japan Times came out with such a nice article on the deletion of the guideline that I just had to be sure you saw it.

      The way things are going, I wouldn’t be surprised if Immigration does not even bother asking people to show their health cards at all. Reports we’re getting now indicate they are happy even if you flash a private insurance card. At the moment, they seem more intent on making us feel comfortable – such wonderful hosts!

      Here’s the article:

      http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/nn20100304a1.html

      Enjoy,
      Kaj Schwermer

    4. holmes Says:

      “Such wonderful hosts”-we re basically back to square one and the idea that we are “guests” in Japan. Therefore, we don’t “have to” pay into the Japanese health insurance to renew a visa, but we dont get a local vote either.

      We are excluded from the benefits and responsibilities, like outsiders.

      It feels like the 90s, because it’s still not as good as being a “guest” in the 80s.

    5. sendaiben Says:

      Kaj

      I hate to split hairs, but I have to object to the choice of language here. The Japanese government is not a ‘host’ when it comes to its relationships with working visa holders. They, in the same way, are not guests but rather tax-paying residents, with the same rights and responsibilities as Japanese workers.

    6. Chris Says:

      It seems that this Ronald Kessler guy owns the domains to a number of insurance companies selling insurance to expats. His “free choice” movement is free choice to use his businesses while he gets to look like an activist?
      http://hoofin.wordpress.com/2009/12/13/ron-kesslers-freechoice-jp-tied-to-website-telling-foreigners-tricks-to-get-out-of-nhi/

    7. Hoofin Says:

      Good for Debito to update this as a civil rights issue.

      I do keep saying, however, that it’s old news in the sense that Guideline Eight is NOT the rule requiring anyone as an expat NJ from signing up for both pension and health insurance. That one is still very much in effect.

      At least within the internet clique, it’s been well understood for months that MOJ/immigration was not going to kick anyone out solely for nonpayment. (There goes the country’s backpayment money, too – duh!) So if you needed to be doubly and triply sure, OK, break out the party hats.

      What I’m hearing is that the most likely thing to happen is that, after April 1, people who can’t establish that they are in either the national health insurance or the equivalent employer one will possibly receive a mailer or some other kind of contact from Labor and Health. It will not be a matter of merely “waving an insurance card” – they will want a photocopy just like anything else you submit at the counter.

      The only thing that changed is that if you do not have the ability to produce that insurance and nenkin book, that alone will not be the basis for denying the visa.

      If I’m wrong that nothing has changed, please specify. If anything, all the commotion may have made things slightly worse.

      – Not sure why.

    8. James N Says:

      I think this is mixed news. This is what should have happened:

      – The MOJ closing the loophole on the employers that evade the law with that flimsy 29.5 hour “work week”. We all know that most teachers are there at the office for well over that time period.
      – Waiving the back payment fee for those who are entering the system starting with their next visa renewal. After all, it wasn’t their fault their employers were operating above the law for god knows how long.
      – Ensuring that all employers provide their foreign employees under the law the standard shakai hoken bundled with kosei nenkin, and koyo hoken.

      If one of the unemployed foreigners loses his / her job, as things stand right now, they would not be eligible for the 60% of their salary benefit that koyo hoken provides. Just look what happened to all the Nova employees. Most had no where to turn with no back up cash which they were LEGALLY entitled to.

      I’ve reported my employer at least 3 times in the past directly to the Insurance Agency itself to no avail. I wonder what type of collusion takes place where literally thousands of workers are deprived of their financial security….

      One last thing, I also believe that foreigners who have contributed to the “system” that want to return home, be allowed to transfer there contributions to their home country in its entirety. I believe Japan has reciprocal agreements with a number of countries regarding this issue with limits. I do not approve of the 3 year cap currently in place.

    9. sorge Says:

      Well, its certainly good news that no one will be forced to stump up backpayments to retain a visa when an employer has neglected to offer them insurance. That was the immediate injustice of the proposal.

      Otherwise this decision seems to be rather ambivalent. Employers can, under the guise of ‘freedom of choice’, continue to neglect the rights of migrant workers to protection, unlike those already assimilated into the tax system. Essentially, I do not accept that we migrants (and I do know that is a loaded term) have a moral entitlement to not contribute to the welfare system of the country we have chosen to live and work in, which puts me at odds with those who have a more libertarian or (if I may presume)US Republican-centric outlook of the rights of citizens. In many European or Scandinavian multi-cultural societies,for example, the idea of allowing migrant workers to evade any insurance coverage would be considered downright negligent. In any case this situation underlines the need for greater representation and voting rights for residents to determine national policy.

    10. Hoofin Says:

      Debito says:

      “Not sure why.”

      Because the rule, as negotiated by self-appointed representatives of all the rest of us now says that as of April first, the immigration people will ask for the social insurance card and/or nenkin book, but will not reject the visa solely on those grounds.

      One of the earlier posters suggests that you can just “wave” any insurance card in someone’s face at the application window, and that will be that. But it sounds so silly–the same kind of adolescence that has been coming out of the Choicer publicity machine.

      People renewing are worse off, because if the rule had been you must be in the real programs, the agenda would have next turned to putting people in. And it would have meant that the gap insurers would have been forced to give up the portion of their business that is illicit.

      Now, what is going to happen is that ever-so-slowly the wheels of enforcement are going to grind. One by one, here and there, over months, people are going to be picked out (picked off, whatever) as not enrolled, and asked to make their back payments. People who still want to cheat are going to think they’ve been given a reprieve.

      Everyone would have been better off had the Ministry just enforced their internal rule. It would have seriously dented the illegal operations, and shifted the political pressure to resolving the “innocent victim” issue—people who were dissuaded from doing the right thing from the start.

      There could have been some kind of general forbearance where if people proved they paid they money to the wrong source, they could be credited for back payments. (Now try to get that to happen!) The J-government could have gone after the real culprits, the gap insurers selling as if they were legitimate alternatives to Japanese insurance. Rather than the hundreds of dup-ees who played along with the scam.

      The critical piece, and what is the Choicers true failure, is that the Japanese will still ask for evidence that the visa renewer is following their laws, rather than writing their own.

      I think the Kesslerites really screwed up, but only time will tell.

    11. Ken44 Says:

      —-as of April first, the immigration people will ask for the social insurance card and/or nenkin book, but will not reject the visa solely on those grounds.—

      O.k.

      —Now, what is going to happen is that ever-so-slowly the wheels of enforcement are going to grind. One by one, here and there, over months, people are going to be picked out (picked off, whatever) as not enrolled, and asked to make their back payments.—

      Why? What makes you think this will happen?

      —Everyone would have been better off had the Ministry just enforced their internal rule. It would have seriously dented the illegal operations, and shifted the political pressure to resolving the “innocent victim” issue—people who were dissuaded from doing the right thing from the start.—

      Come on. Do you seriously believe we’d see political pressure force companies currently skirting the NHI rules to change?

    12. Frodis Says:

      I, too, feel that all who are living and working here should be required to enroll. I disagree about forcing back-payments on to enrollees as it is so onerous as to become a crushing financial burden. I don’t believe in an opt-out however. I hope the MOJ, or whatever agency would best monitor this, changes their minds and puts into place some sort of plan that ensures that all eligible people are enrolled in the national programme.

      I also question the motives behind the actions of Mr. Kessler and the Free Choice Foundation.

    13. blimp Says:

      if one would call MoJ, they would say that article 8 was never meant to make it mandatory, but only to have immigration officer ask and hand out materials relating to health insurance. this they will still do. so i am not sure what change has happened. all that is happened is that article 8 has been re-worded to be clearer on that exact point.

    14. Kimberly Says:

      I’ve said it before and I’ll keep saying it until and unless it changes… they need to go after companies who call their workers “part time,” while requiring them to be on company premises, in work attire, speaking English, in many cased DOING WORK such as writing student reports but saying they’re off the clock for insurance purposes. Go after the companies first… might not be possible to get all of them, but Aeon, ECC, Geos… good starting point there, and if those three make the news smaller English schools may get scared and shape up on their own. Make a multilingual (Japanese, English, Portuguese, Chinese, Korean at the very least) guide, hand it out to newcomers and let them KNOW that those third party insurance providers aren’t a substitute for NHI under the law. Require that companies that recruit from overseas hand out a government-issued guide to insurance and pension in Japan, and makes sure they read it and understand it before ever coming in the first place. Forgive back payments for a limited amount of time… say, anyone who comes forward within the next year, who hasnt been paying insurance will get the benefit of the doubt and can start fresh.

      Educate the employees and crack down on the companies FIRST. After enough time has passed so that there won’t be too many people left who are simply IGNORNANT, then start requiring proof to keep out the intentional scheaters, absolutely.

    15. Hoofin Says:

      —Now, what is going to happen is that ever-so-slowly the wheels of enforcement are going to grind. One by one, here and there, over months, people are going to be picked out (picked off, whatever) as not enrolled, and asked to make their back payments.—

      Why? What makes you think this will happen?

      Ken44 @ 11:

      Because it’s already happening. The local ward desks are becoming tougher about who is in, and who is paying late. In some wards of Tokyo, you get a knock on the door the very next month.

      —Everyone would have been better off had the Ministry just enforced their internal rule. It would have seriously dented the illegal operations, and shifted the political pressure to resolving the “innocent victim” issue—people who were dissuaded from doing the right thing from the start.—

      Come on. Do you seriously believe we’d see political pressure force companies currently skirting the NHI rules to change?

      Let’s be clear: there is the employer Health and Pension Insurance (“Shakai Hoken”) issue, which is non-enrollment of qualifying workers, and the national Health and Pension insurance issue, which is that people don’t join. Or join but don’t pay.

      There are about seven or eight different camps among the people who aren’t, for various, e-hem, “principled” reasons, doing what most of the rest of Japanese society is.

      The people who are saying, “I’m not going to join the NHI and nenkin pension program, because I should REALLY be in the employer plan!” have one of the weakest principled claims. They really just don’t want to pay out the money.

      I remember the game the Arakawa social insurance office played with me in the summer of 2007, when I tried to get a Shakai Hoken dodging employer on the ball with what was arguably his requirement to enroll me. The (now defunct) Social Insurance Agency people kept throwing back at me that I would have to pay up the back payments to go into Shakai for the pension (since they realized if I was paying 8% on the health, chances are I’d paid my share of that part).

      Since I was already in the national pension, it was no threat.

      People who want to be in Shakai are better off paying into,(or at least enrolling! in), the national programs, not using the Shakai non-enrollment issue as an excuse not to pay anything anywhere at all.

    16. Bender B. Rodriguez Says:

      Kimberly wrote:
      I’ve said it before and I’ll keep saying it until and unless it changes… they need to go after companies who call their workers “part time,” while requiring them to be on company premises, in work attire, speaking English, in many cased DOING WORK such as writing student reports but saying they’re off the clock for insurance purposes. Go after the companies first… might not be possible to get all of them, but Aeon, ECC, Geos… good starting point there, and if those three make the news smaller English schools may get scared and shape up on their own.

      Just FYI, all Aeon employees have been enrolled in Shakai Hoken since 2007. The rest of your point stands, but please don’t tar all eikaiwa companies with the same brush, since some of us are doing it right :-) I do enjoy my company-sponsored health and pension plan.

    17. Ken44 Says:

      —-Because it’s already happening. The local ward desks are becoming tougher about who is in, and who is paying late. In some wards of Tokyo, you get a knock on the door the very next month.—-

      I have never paid into the NHI nor have many of the NJ living in Tokyo that I teach with. I’ve also never heard anyone complain of being contacted by their ward office for unpaid NHI premiums unless they’ve already registered.

    18. Hoofin Says:

      Ken44 @17 says:

      I have never paid into the NHI nor have many of the NJ living in Tokyo that I teach with. I’ve also never heard anyone complain of being contacted by their ward office for unpaid NHI premiums unless they’ve already registered.

      OK, the hearsay is one source of information. But if you look at even one of the few Japanese sources discussing the new “Zairyu” cards at length in English, you see that the rules for “Basic Resident Registration” seek out information like:

      – enrollment in health insurance
      – enrollment in pension

      It’s part of the overall reforms. Nothing to do with Guideline Eight.

      Here is what the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications says:

      http://www.soumu.go.jp/main_sosiki/jichi_gyousei/c-gyousei/zairyu_shousai01e.html

      “Registered items of the basic resident registration include full name, date of birth, sex and address as well as insurance information such as national health insurance and national pension plan.

      However, for foreign residents, following additional items as well as their nationality or region will also be listed on their records . . . ” and this includes the pension and the health care.

      My reading is you get the Zairyu card, the government records the information to the left in that link. Including pension and health.

      This is why the government has taken the initiative to follow up on it.

    19. Ken44 Says:

      —-This is why the government has taken the initiative to follow up on it.—-

      Where’s a link which mentions the J-government and/or ward offices are now (or soon will be..) taking the initiative to go after those not enrolled? Or is this just speculation on your part? If my ward office wanted to go after me for not having registered in the NHI they could have easily done so years ago. Personally I’ve not heard anyone (not currently enrolled) complain of this happening.

    20. Hoofin Says:

      Ken44@19 says:

      Where’s a link which mentions the J-government and/or ward offices are now (or soon will be..) taking the initiative to go after those not enrolled? Or is this just speculation on your part?

      Not “go after”. That’s your phrase. What I’m hearing is that they are tougher on anyone trying to leave the system, and more apt to try and collect (especially if you have a high-five-digit coupon payment).

      They know who is in and who has not signed up. Plus, the new Zairyu card requires this information from NJ (as it does for Japanese). That was the link.

      So this is not crackdown or “go after”. This is that slow, J-style of change, where two or three small adjustments are made. Plus some new proposal in another department that maybe some people try to modify around the edges. And, ho! A brand new card or administrative scheme in another department that requires some information.

      Once all the low-hanging fruit are under a new system, then, “hey! How are these outliers here?” “Hey, how did this happen?” “Didn’t we all agree this the system now?” “Hey, weren’t you supposed to have been doing A, B, C?” Like that.

      The bureaucrats still run Japan. They are very good at their art.

    21. Ken44 Says:

      —Not “go after”. That’s your phrase. What I’m hearing is that they are tougher on anyone trying to leave the system, and more apt to try and collect—

      O.k.

      —They know who is in and who has not signed up. Plus, the new Zairyu card requires this information from NJ (as it does for Japanese). That was the link.—

      Yes.

      —So this is not crackdown or “go after”. This is that slow, J-style of change, where two or three small adjustments are made.—

      Correct.

      —Once all the low-hanging fruit are under a new system, then, “hey! How are these outliers here?” “Hey, how did this happen?” “Didn’t we all agree this the system now?” “Hey, weren’t you supposed to have been doing A, B, C?” Like that.—-

      Nope, more likely it will be more of the same where you’ve got nothing to worry about unless you’ve already enrolled. As I mentioned if the J-govenment and/or ward office wanted to go after those (NJ and Japanese alike) not enrolled they would have already done so.

      —The bureaucrats still run Japan. They are very good at their art—

      Not really. If they were truly competent and wanted to collect from those not registered it certainly wouldn’t have been difficult.

      – Let’s draw this debate between the two of you to a close. One more response from each of you, so give your concluding arguments, please.

    22. Ken44 Says:

      —. so give your concluding arguments, please.—-

      If my local ward wants to go after those not registered they certainly don’t need a new card to identify who is or isn’t enrolled. They could easily find out today. The fact that they don’t speaks volumes. Either they aren’t particularly concerned or perhaps can’t force residents to join but whatever the reason I see nothing which indicates this will change anytime soon.

      – Okay, Hoofin, your concluding argument, then that’s all from you two this time on this.

    23. Sure’nuff And Yes I do Says:

      How is a good thing that the government is basically endorsing the continuation of the abuse of foreign worker’s rights?

      I guess the dispatch (read: despise) companies will have a field day! I know of one that is now forcing its ALTs to sign an agreement absolving the company of having to enroll them in shakaihoken (even after they forced the same ALTs to join when it looked like it would be linked to visas).

    24. Meat67 Says:

      “I know of one that is now forcing its ALTs to sign an agreement absolving the company of having to enroll them in shakaihoken….”

      Isn’t this illegal?

    25. Hoofin Says:

      Ken44 @ 22:

      The reasons why change is in the air are several. Among them:

      – Despite what the Choicers claim on Guideline Eight, it sounds only like the Justice ministry deleted the numeral “8” and left a requirement to check. The rumor mill will have a good sense in just 24 days what the level of asking about insurance will be. If people are in fact asked, I conclude it means more enforcement in the future (which, as you say, is zero now for the nonenrolled. General Union at their site, however, says higher than zero.)

      – When the new Zairyu card is issued, the least likely possibility is that the Justice ministry is going to allow the boxes for pension and insurance to be blank. Since new card is latest to be introduced in the next two years, and since back enrollment has generally been sought for no more than two previous years, there’s a possibility that 2010 payments may be sought in 2012.

      – The Social Insurance Agency is gone. Replaced by the Japan Pension Agency. Many Japanese have been hired for the single purpose of getting pension records in order. Naturally, health insurance is a close cousin, so I don’t think it would be surprising that the same initiative is taken in the near future.

      – The government needs money in its programs, not on the bottom line of insurers. Therefore, it’s not likely that they let this small segment continue to get away with making a private profit off the Japanese health care system, where it’s illegal to do so for the everyday Japanese.

      – Unlike even eight years ago, Japan has committed with other countries to open up its social insurance systems on an equal basis. Contrary to what the Choicers have started saying, Americans here–even on “short term”–are required to be in the Japanese program or else expressly certify via the U.S. Social Security administration that they are not (“Form USA/J-6″). Plus pay U.S. taxes. None of these formalities were present before, now are, and the U.S. does take taxes more seriously.

      – Like so much of what has occurred in the Minshuto regime, one can expect that there will be multiple signals about what the government will do. But by the same token, different than in the past are these very multiple signals. There used to be none.

      I am always available through my site if anyone wants to discuss or for me to elaborate on these.

      – Good. Please take it over there now, you two. Thanks for the discussion.

    26. Ken44 Says:

      Thanks and see link for replay:
      http://hoofin.wordpress.com/

    27. James Says:

      I’m surprised that Dave said this is “good news.” Although I’ve never been a big fan of the insurance/pension scheme here in Japan (mainly due to the fact that you have to pay into it for 25 years), nevertheless it is the law.

      75% of all foreigners in Japan are working in sweat shop conditions, i.e., employers not following the law. No pension, no health insurance and no unemployment insurance. Very simply the government should tell all the Interac’s and Shane’s and other sweatshops that you either put your people in the system as required by law or no visa sponsorship.

      Sure some people with their own spouse visa’s will get caught up in it too but it is “the law.”It is unimaginable that a foreigner in America could opt out of social security. The IRS puts such people and employers in jail. But here in Japan laws are meant to be ignored as they are not enforced. I think it’s about time that all foreigners and their employers obey the law. How can anyone be against obeying the law or think that not obeying the law is a good idea?

      James

    28. Karl Says:

      James, I think you are absolutely correct; people should follow the law.

      But the issue as I see it is the double standard: if a Japanese citizen doesn’t pay for health insurance then there are no repurcussions. If a Non-Japanese citizen doesn’t pay for health insurance they get kicked out. If the government wants to make people pay for health insurance, they should find some mechanism that compels both Japanese citizens and NJ to pay.

    29. Massimo Says:

      The health scam, sorry scheme, is compulsory but….

      I do not really “feel”, after 14 years in Japan, that
      I’m “really” part of this “harmonious” system. I wonder why.
      NJ = zero rights NJ = all obligations
      I am not a money-teller for the GoJ. No, no.

      Even if it is “the law” (empty words) I do not feel well
      to pay around 300.000 a year just to get medicines for cold a couple times
      and if I have the bad luck to have a main surgery 30% is at my expense.
      With my foreign insurance I pay 120.000 a year, I’m covered for up
      to 120.000.000 (surgery, hospitalization
      etc.) and the insurance company pays 100% of the expenses.
      I am not covered for colds though…..so I cannot call the
      ambulance once in a week…. =)

      Well, I guess I’m a rogue but at least I’m not a “burden” on the system
      since whenever I go to the hospitals for lesser problems I pay 100% out
      of my pockets.

      Btw comparing to the Usa (where the health system is deprecable) is not
      a good comparison in my opinion. They leave you to die if you do not
      pay because “it is the law” (how I love these words).

      If in Japan “the law” (empty word in Japan in many cases) will enforce
      ma to pay in the future, then I will pay. I’m not a bandit.
      Now I will not.

      And, in the end, as Karl points out the fabulous GoJ should at least
      not try to come up with the usual double standards.
      Do we have to pay ? Then ALL should pay equally…(and also have the
      same RIGHTS….ah, wait, NJ rights are not “a law”…).
      I wonder, if the system is not fair to me, do I have to be fair to the system ?
      To be or not to be ?

    30. Hoofin Says:

      Karl @28 says:

      But the issue as I see it is the double standard: if a Japanese citizen doesn’t pay for health insurance then there are no repercussions. If a Non-Japanese citizen doesn’t pay for health insurance they get kicked out. If the government wants to make people pay for health insurance, they should find some mechanism that compels both Japanese citizens and NJ to pay.

      But most all Japanese do pay up for health insurance. The figure cited for nonpayment is usually the rate for the pension coupons (something like 25%-40%), and that is simply in the segment of the population that doesn’t have Shakai Hoken (employer-based insurance).

      For the Japanese who don’t pay, there are repercussions. Any money they get in the future may be confiscated. And, depending on the municipality, there is a certain shame attached to not paying up like everyone else. It’s the flip side of the coin from what you say: never mind being “kicked out”, a Japanese person generally can’t leave Japan and easily live in another country. So the debt is there, even if the person is healthy and does not use the system.

      So much has been said about this already in the internet NJ community that there isn’t much more to add without it sounding like rehash of rehash. But to me, the double standard seems to be with the folks that want to use the health care system on a separate set of rules than what the Japanese have. And the dialogue so often veers to either a) “get it for less!” or b) “not exactly what I would want!” that you wonder where people get their ideas about how life works.

      Meh.

    Leave a Reply