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How social insurance system works for full time employee in Japan

- WRITER profile -
Career village(CV) is the place where specialists who can provide Japan life information share Japan life tips. We offer information to make Japan life easer and enjoy your period of stay in Japan. We are always happy to help your Japan life and keep developing service to help you!

Many of new worker from overseas have big questions how Japanese social insurance system works. And almost all of them will struggle to find right information from the website run by public organization


 This is pretty natural situation because even if native Japanese people cannot understand this kind of information very well and have already given up to search further.


1. Incredibly tough to find answer for your questions on internet

Actually, public organization’s website is regarded as information source for payroll specialists e.g. payroll people in company, social insurance labor attorney called “Sharoushi(abbreviation of Shakaihoken Roumu Shi)” and etc..


The following two examples are just to share what exactly it is. So please don’t jump in these deeply and move to the 2nd topics of this article.

Example1: Ministry of Health, Welfare and Labor(MHWL)

  • MHWL is responsible for Japan social insurance system.
  • Ministry’s website covers all major topics to understand Japan social insurance system.
  • But the contents is quite huge so we recommend to leave before you’ve been completely exhausted..

Example 2: Japan pension office(National Pension System page)

Japan pension office website sample

  • Pension office’s website is more beneficial than MHLW’s one to know your benefit.
  • If you are company employee, you don’t need to know entire system.
  • Just need to know one table that will be explained on 2-3 on this article.


2. Only 3 points you need to understand

As you feel, trying to understand entire social insurance system requires tremendous effort. And it clearly doesn’t deserve just to know your actual benefit from Japan social insurance system.


So, in this part, I will give 3 key points simplified to understand how Social insurance system works for you.

2-1. General medication is covered by public health insurance

Some of you might have some worries that dental treatment and/or other urgent surgery cannot be covered by public insurance.


I would say firstly to you, “You don’t need to worry about medical coverage so much in Japan:)” And please keep simple rule, “30% of cost has to be paid by yourself” in your mind.


Okay, everything is covered under public insurance, right?


Actually, it’s not everything. Other than disease and injury e.g.  massage, cosmetic treatment are not covered.

CV manager

The following is major items to know what is covered or not covered. And in the case your expected treatment cannot be covered, usually hospital/clinic person should let you know it is 100% costing to you.


Covered items

medical treatment items

  • Go to see doctor when you are not feeling well
  • Medicine other than special treatment
  • injection, surgery, medical advise
  • standard package for hospitalization and etc..  

Example items not covered


  • Cosmetic surgery
  • hypometropia
  • vaccination
  • medical check
  • pregnancy and delivery and etc.. 


2-2. Full time employee(FTE) MUST join both health insurance/Pension

When you are hired as full time employee, you will be eligible both for health insurance and Japan pension. So please remember this is your right.


If you are not covered despite of full time contract, your employer is  not complied with Japan labor regulation and should correct the situation very soon.


Also, if you want to keep staying your home country’s social security system, some counties that have bilateral social security agreement shouldn’t be necessary to join Japan social insurance.

Bilateral social security agreement covers the following counties as of August 2018

people all over the world

  • Europe – Germany, UK, Belgium, France, Switzerland, Hungary, Luxembourg, Netherland, Ireland and Czech 
  • Oceania – Ausutralia
  • Asia – South Korea, Philippine, India
  • North America – Canada
  • South America – Brazil 


Some Japanese website doesn’t have English support. However, if you use Google Chrome, you can translate the website into your language by Google translate plugin.



The above listed counties coverage of public pension and insurance is not same. It depends on the agreement between each country so please check details on Pension service website with Google translate.



2-3. Premium has to be deducted from your salary

The following is translated by Google translate and this website is run by one of the major Health insurance association (HIA) called “Kyokai Kenpo” in Japanese.


Kyokai kenpo website English translation sample

(Image: Kyokai Kenpo website)

Unfortunately, premium table is put as PDF so Google translate doesn’t work. So pleas refer the following guide where you need to  refer.


This table contains both health insurance and pension premium. Specifically for health insurance, it’s run by respective HIA and the rate is a bit different depending the organization’s fiscal balance.


And private HIA usually doesn’t disclose detailed conditions so I’m introducing the table from Kyokai Kenpo in Tokyo and some instruction how to refer the table.

Social insurance premium table with guide

(Source: Premium table for FY 2019)


3. Wrap up for today’s topic

Social insurance system looks difficult to understand generally however, it’s enough to know the following three major points.

MUST know items to work in Japan – SOCIAL INSURANCE

  1. Major medication is covered by health insurance
  2. 30% of its cost is your portion of payment ( 70% of cost is covered by HIA)
  3. All full time employees should be eligible for Japan social insurance system

As I shared this at the beginnings of this article, you don’t need to understand detailed rules. But it’s important to know how much percentage you have to pay and if you are eligible for this or not.

CV manager

Yeah, totally agree. I was very confused when I visited many websites.


You don’t need to do same thing going forward. I will give you some more instruction to settle your Japan life smoothly.

CV manager

Okay, great to know! I have some questions for Japan tax system so I will ask this to you later. 


Got it, I will invite you later to follow up your questions!

CV manager

- WRITER profile -
Career village(CV) is the place where specialists who can provide Japan life information share Japan life tips. We offer information to make Japan life easer and enjoy your period of stay in Japan. We are always happy to help your Japan life and keep developing service to help you!

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