The public pension systems (including the National Pension System) in Japan are designed to financially support each other and the whole society.
The National Pension system is a common pension system which provides insurants with "Basic Pension". The Employers' Pension Insurance (EPI) system provides "earnings-related" pension on top of the Basic Pension provided by National Pension system.
The 3 types of basic pensions are provided to those who are enrolled in the National Pension System and those who are enrolled in the Employer's Pension System.
You will receive your pension handbook when you completed the enrollment procedure in one of the public pension systems. Please note that your pension handbook is a record of your contribution, so make sure you will keep it in a safe place throughout your lifetime.
A pension account number is issued to an individual enrolled in one of the public pension programs. The number will not be changed throughout your lifetime.
As various kinds of international exchanges become more frequent, the number of people dispatched to work abroad or people living abroad after retirement is increasing every year. When working abroad, you must be enrolled in the social security system of the country you are working in, and occasionally you are obliged to pay contributions to both countries (Japan and the agreement country). On the other hand, to be eligible for the pension benefits under the system of each agreement country, you may need to be covered by the system for a certain length of period. Accordingly, you may not be eligible for benefits even if you contribute to the system because you did not satisfy the coverage period requirements.
Social security agreements are concluded for the following purposes:
Japan has implemented social security agreements with twelve countries listed below.
Germany, United Kingdom, Korea, United States, Belgium, France, Canada, Australia, Netherlands, Czech Republic, Spain and Ireland
Japan has signed social security agreements with the following three countries. (Under preparation for implementation)
Italy, Brazil and Switzerland
If you are non-Japanese, you may file a claim for the Lump-sum Withdrawal Payments within two years after you leave Japan. To apply for it you need to satisfy the following conditions; you have contributed to the National Pension System for at least six months in total (excluding your insured periods as a Category II or Category III insured person); you have not satisfied the qualifying contribution period for the Old-age Basic Pension.
The information listed above is based on the information provided by Japan Pension Service's website. Please visit their website for more details.
(Effective October 2011)