Pension and Tax Refund

Note: This guide was last updated in August 2015 and may contain outdated information. Please refer to p. 165-171 of the 2018 Edition of the General Information Handbook and the JET Program website (maintained by CLAIR) for the most up-to-date and accurate information while we work to update the content of this guide.

So you’re leaving JET, and contemplating the dozens of tasks you must complete before you leave. Arguably the most important of these is deciding what to do with the pension money you have accrued whilst in Japan. Whether you’ve been in Japan for just one year or the full five, your pension savings and tax refunds are a decent chunk of money! So, dust off your pension book, find a trusted person staying in Japan, and read on to see how you can get some money back!

When deciding what to do with your accrued pension money, There are two options you should be aware of:

  1. You can have the time and money earned from your pension in Japan count towards years worked in your own country. Please check this website to see if Japan has an agreement in place with your home country.
  2. You can apply to have a lump-sum withdrawal. Please note: in order to apply for this you must:
    • Send in your application for the lump-sum withdrawal payments within two years of leaving Japan
    • Not have Japanese citizenship
    • Have worked in Japan for 6 months or more
    • Not have a place of residence in Japan (not own any property in Japan)
    • Never qualified for pension benefits before (including disability allowance)

Also, you may only claim pension for up to 36 months worked in Japan. So, if you are a fourth or fifth year JET, you can only get a refund from your first three years.

Before you leave Japan you must do the following:

  1. Fill out a change of address form with your local city office.
  2. This only applies to people who have paid taxes in Japan. Designate someone you trust to be your tax representative (someone who lives in Japan). This can be someone from your BoE, your supervisor, a Japanese friend, etc. Fill out the following form and take it to your local tax office.
    Letter of Guarantee photo

    Letter of Guarantee

  3. Take your pension book back with you.
  4. Turn in your Alien Registration Card upon leaving Japan.

After arriving in your home country:

  1. Fill out the lump-sum withdrawal payments form. Please be sure to fill out the bank information for your home country and NOT your Japanese bank information.
    Sample Form photo

    Sample Form

  2. Make a photocopy of the pages in your passport showing:
    • Your name, date of birth, nationality, signature
    • Your work visa
    • Date of departure from Japan
  3. Find a document such as a copy of your bank statement, bank passbook, etc. This is to verify the money you are receiving from Japan goes to the correct person filling the lump-sum withdrawal payment form.

These three items along with your pension book should be mailed to the following address:

Japan Pension Service
3-5-24, Takaido-nishi, Suginami-Ku,
Tokyo 168-8505 Japan

After sending all the required documents to the Japan Pension Service, you should receive money directly into your bank account and the “Notice of Lump-Sum Withdrawal Payment” in the mail.

If you paid taxes in Japan, there’s an extra couple of steps.

  1. Make a copy of the “Notice of Lump-Sum Withdrawal Payment” and send the original to your Tax Representative (in this case Ayaka Sakamoto).
  2. Have your Tax Representative go to the same tax office you filed the “Letter of Guarantee” form and have him/her file “Kakutei Shinkosho” form.
  3. Some months later, the money from the tax department will go into your tax representative’s bank account.
  4. Have your tax representative take the money given by the tax department and send it to you.

We hope this guide has been helpful! Best of luck with whatever option you choose!