Pension Refund

From Akita Wiki

According to a law passed in 1994, all foreigners who pay into the Japanese National Pension system but then leave the country are eligible for a refund. As employed members of society, we pay not only into the National Pension system, but also the Employees’ Pension Insurance (EPI) system. Every resident of Japan pays the same amount into the former system, but the latter depends on your gross monthly remuneration (i.e. income) and the amount of time you have paid into the system. In this context, when we refer to your “pension refund”, we often refer to both systems collectively, as the steps outlined below take care of your refunds for both at the same time.

When you get your pension refunded, ~20% of the EPI portion of it is subject to income tax by the Japanese Government as tax. However, you are eligible to get this 20% back as well after returning home. The process described below is for receiving both the first part of your pension refund, then the subsequent tax refund.

Last updated: April 25, 2019

The Akita Wiki makes no claims of accuracy. Specific questions and concerns must be addressed directly to the Japan Pension Service
Lump-sum claim form

What You'll Need

  • Application for the Lump-sum Withdrawal Payments form
  • Declaration Naming a Person to Administer the Taxpayer's Tax Affairs form
  • Pension Book
  • Official information for your home bank account
  • Proof that you no longer have an address in Japan [updated juminhyou 住民票]) **OPTIONAL so long as you properly submit your move-out notice and they receive your application 'after' your move-out date

Before You Leave Japan

  1. Fill out an Application for the Lump-sum Withdrawal Payments.
  2. Find someone to be your tax representative. This person is usually your supervisor, but can be a friend or co-worker. Make sure it is someone you trust with your personal documents.
  3. Officially designate them as your tax representative by filling out a Declaration Naming a Person to Administer the Taxpayer's Tax Affairs (所得税・消費税の納税管理人の届出書) and submit it to your local tax office.
  4. Provide your tax representative copies of your passport and any official documentation of your My Number (like your My Number card or your juminhyou 住民票).
  5. Make copies of your pension book inner cover (showing your pension number) and the information page of your passport.
  6. Gather the contact info for:
  • Your Tax Representative
  • Your School
  • Your Contracting Organization

Submitting Your Application

You have two choices for to submit: you can either submit before you leave Japan, or after. As of 2019, there isn't too much of a difference between the two options.

1. Submit your Moving Out Notice (tenshutsu todoke/転出届). Receive an updated certificate of residence (Juminhyou) as your proof of you no longer having an address in Japan. You technically shouldn't need this form anymore as of early 2019, but it would be good to have just in case. Take note of the date you select as your move-out date.
2. Send in your Application for the Lump-sum Withdrawal Payments, along with your pension book, copy of your passport page and the visa page, official bank information, and updated residence form (optional). The last form is now optional because the Pension Office is able to exchange information with municipal offices.
  • If you plan to submit before you leave, you need to make sure your application arrives at the Pension Office AFTER your move-out date. You can do this by mailing it with a designated arrival date, or a haitatsu shiteibi, and designating it to arrive after your move-out date.
  • If you plan to submit after leaving Japan, so long as it is past your move-out date, you should be good to go. You have 2 years to submit this application. It is more important that you do not have an address, rather than you have left Japan.
  • Your official bank information can come in any form (statement, former billing, etc.), as long as it has the bank's official address or seal on it, and that it is under 'your' name. Make sure your bank accepts international wire transfers.
3. Wait.

Where Do I Send My Forms?

Japan Pension Service

3-5-24, Takaido-nishi, Suginami-Ku, Tokyo 168-8505 JAPAN
〒168-8505 東京都杉並区高井戸西 3 丁目 5 番 24 号 日本年金機構 (外国業務グループ)

The Waiting Game

1. After several months (up to 6), you should receive a Notice of Payment of the Lump-sum Withdrawal Payment (脱退一時金支給決定通知書), and you should receive your pension (minus the taxed 20%) to your bank account.
2. Make a copy of this notice, then send the original to your Tax Representative in Japan.
3. Your Tax Representative should take this notice to your local tax office in Japan with the other documents you provided them, and submit an application for a Tax Return (確定申告書), available at your tax office.
Note: The tax return form changes every year, so unfortunately we have no standard form to show you, but please feel free to refer your representative to this link for an example of what to look for.
4. After a few more months (around 4), the return should be deposited into either your Japanese bank account or your Tax Rep's account.
5. Have your Tax Rep transfer the money to your home bank account (Money Order, GoRemit, Transferwise, etc.)
6. Express deep and profound gratitude to your tax rep for helping you with this arduous process.


Q1. How much do I get refunded?
A. The amount you are refunded through the National Pension system is calculated by the amount of time you have paid into the system. Through the EPI system, it is calculated by your gross monthly remuneration in addition to the time you’ve paid into the system, capping off at 3 years.
You can find charts and detailed explanation of how the amount is calculated here. It serves as a good estimate, but note that it may not be exactly accurate for any current JET salary arrangement.
Reference: Lump-sum Withdrawal Payments Guide.

Q2. My bank doesn’t have a certified bank stamp. What should I do?
A. In this case, you will need to submit documentation including your bank’s certificate or notices, showing your bank’s name, name and address of your branch office, your bank account number, and that the account holder’s name is yours.
Reference: Lump-sum Withdrawal Payment Claim Form

Q3. I noticed the GIH and Social Insurance Agency site only list refund amounts for up to 36 months of enrollment. Does the amount continue to increase beyond 36 months?
A. No, you can only have up to 36 months’ worth of pension payments refunded. This is a Social Insurance Agency regulation. If you continue to work in Japan for a time after JET, the amount only considers the previous 3 years of pension payments, regardless of where you were employed.
Reference: Lump-sum Withdrawal Payment Claim Form

Q4. Can I apply for the pension refund from Japan?
A. Yes, but you may only submit after the moving out date listed on your Moving Out Notice.
Reference: Japan Pension Office Website

Q5. How much time will it take to get the lump-sum refund?
A. On average, it takes 3-6 months from submission of the claim form. If information on the claim form is incorrect or insufficient, the process will take longer.
Reference: Past JETs’ experiences

Q6. I didn’t designate a tax representative before I left Japan. Is it possible to do so from my home country?
A. Yes, it is possible. You do not have to be present when the form is submitted to your local tax office. Find someone in Japan willing to be your tax representative and, upon filling in the necessary information, send them the tax representative declaration form, a copy of your passport, and a copy of official documentation of your My Number. Then they can take them to your local tax office and submit your claim for the tax refund all at once.
Reference: 2019 GIH p. 169

Q7. Does the tax representative declaration form need to be submitted to MY local tax office?
A. Yes, it should be submitted to the tax office with jurisdiction over the address where you filed for alien registration. Note: tax offices are not always at city/town/village halls.
Reference: 2019 GIH p. 169

Q8. What if I forget to submit one of the documents with my application?
A. The Pension Service will send everything back to you except the pension book, and you will have to add anything you're missing and submit it again. It is sent with a multi-lingual instruction packet, so if you get lost you can follow it for reference.
Reference: Former JET experience (2017)

See also

Leaving JET Checklist
V • T
Finances Pension Refund • Pension book • Selling your stuff • Return tickets • Shipping items home • Disposing of a Car
Career Returners Checklist • Preparing your resume • Preparing your Japanese resume • Working in Japan
After Leaving Reverse culture shock
V • T
Banks Banking in Japan • Paychecks • ATMs • GoRemit • Post Office RemittanceWestern Union
US Tax Returns First Year Tax GuideSecond-Fifth Year Tax Guide
Japanese Pension Pension RefundPension book
Other FinancesTaxes in Japan