Unexpected Fees to Expect in Japan

Source: Gaijin Pot
Unexpected Fees to Expect Living in Japan

Japan is a country full of interesting culture, great food, cool people—and lots and lots of fees. Some expenses, such as apartment “key” or “gift” money (礼金, reikin), are well-known, but there are many others that will creep up on unsuspecting new foreign residents to Japan.

Prepare yourself by reading about a few of the lesser-known fees below—and, importantly, some of the ways you can reduce them.

National Pension (国民年金保険料, kokumin nenkin hokenryo)

Most know about the Japanese health insurance system, but many people moving to Japan don’t realize that paying for the national pension is an obligation as well. As much of a hassle as it is, if the national health insurance and national pension aren’t automatically taken from your paycheck, you’ll have to sign up at city hall.

The good news is that many countries have a pension exchange treaty with Japan, which means that you might see the money again even if you don’t live in Japan until retirement. You can also choose to withdraw a lump-sum upon leaving Japan if you prefer.

Your Japanese pension payment will typically cost ¥16,410/month (for 2019 to 2020). One of the best ways to cut down on pension payments is to pay in advance via bank transfer (you’ll make savings of ¥15,760 if paying two years at once, which would be ¥379,640 in total).

If you are having financial troubles, you can also request a delay or reduction in payment, depending on your situation.

Learn more about taxes, pension, and health insurance in Japan in our Japan 101 section, and read more here:

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