How To Save Money On Pension Premiums

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It seems that the harder that you work, the more that life wants to take your money from you.

If you're not enrolled in SHAKAI HOKEN (Employee's Health and Pension Insurance), and you're voluntarily paying for KOKUMIN NENKIN (National Pension System) coverage, you're faced with the very real prospect of having even less money in your bank account at the end of the month than a lot of other people do!


As it turns out, there isn't really a better way to get National Pension coverage without paying into the system (sorry!); but there is a way that you might be able to save a little money on those premiums each month.



Recently, the GENERAL UNION learned that a few of its members have been able to get their pension contribution premiums reduced from around ¥15,590 (for fiscal year 2015) to ¥11,690 - a saving of ¥3,630 a month.

While that might not be an astronomical amount per se, it adds up to a saving of  ¥43,560 a year, which - if you're currently paying ¥15,000 a month - basically means that you would be getting two months of premiums for free after the reduction (if you want to look at it like that).

So, how does one go about applying for an exemption to their premium contributions?



The JAPAN PENSION SERVICE website ( provides the following information about who can qualify for an exemption:

"You can apply for the exemption from contribution payments if you satisfy certain conditions specified by law, specifically, if you are receiving the Disability Basic Pension or the Public Assistance under the Livelihood Protection Act. You may also be exempt from contribution payments if the previous year's income of you/your spouse/your home owner is low, and if your application for exemption is granted."

So, if you have a disability, or you're receiving a low income (by the National Pension Service's guidelines), you can apply for an exemption. The GENERAL UNION members who were able to qualify for the exemption were eikaiwa teachers, so there is a good chance that others who work at an eikaiwa or for a dispatch company can also apply.

The type of exemptions that can be applied for are as follows:
·    Full-amount-exemption (no monthly contributions required)
·    3/4-amount-exemption (monthly contributions payable: ¥3,900)
·    1/2-amount-exemption (monthly contributions payable: ¥7,800)
·    1/4-amount-exemption (monthly contributions payable: ¥11,690)

As for can see, the GENERAL UNION members were able to qualify for the "1/4-amount-exemption", bringing their contribution payments down to ¥11,690 per month.



Applications for the pension contribution exemptions can be filled out at your local city hall or municipal office. This application must be completed and submitted every year as it is based on your annual income for the previous fiscal year.

You will need to ask for a KOKUMIN NENKIN HOKEN-RYŌ NO MENJO (Exemption of National Pension Premiums) form. You won't have to fill out the application while you're at city hall, so don't worry about taking all of your financial information with you.

However, as the forms will more than likely only be available in Japanese, you will probably need assistance from a friend who can read and understand the documents if your own Japanese ability is not up to task.

The Yamaguchi city website also states that "applications start from July every year", and the deadline for pension exemption applications is  "the end of June (for the previous fiscal year)", so please be aware of these details.

The GENERAL UNION hopes that this will help people keep a little bit of extra money in their pockets at the end of the month.


If you'd like to know more about the Japanese Pension System, please get in touch with the GENERAL UNION at:


Have you been able to successful reduce your pension premium contributions? Spread the word on our official Facebook page at:

Additional information