National Pension System

Everyone living in Japan between 20 and 59 years of age, including foreign residents, are required by law to enroll in the National Pension plan and pay pension premiums.

Enrollment Procedures

The insured are categorized according to their status as follows:

Category I insured personsAll registered residents of Japan aged 20 to 59 years who are not Category II or III insured personsApply in person at the National Pension counter at your local city or ward office.
Category II insured personsPersons enrolled in the Employees’ Pension Insurance system or Mutual Aid AssociationsPerformed by the company/business owner
Category III insured personsCategory II Insured Person’s dependent spouse aged 20 to 59 yearsPerformed by the company/business owner

If you are a student, a recipient of the JSPS Postdoctoral Fellowship for Research in Japan, or a researcher whose residence status is “Cultural Activities,” you fall under Category I Insured Persons.
You must submit a National Pension Category I Insured Person Enrollment Form (Application) (国民年金被保険者関係届書(申出書)) at the Health Insurance and Pension Division (Hoken Nenkinka) of your local ward office (bring your Residence Card and Social Security and Tax Number notification card).
If you are newly arriving in Japan, please apply at your ward office’s Health Insurance and Pension Division after completing moving-in procedures.*Please enclose a copy of your residence card (front and back).

Upon Turning 20

You will be sent an Application to Enroll in National Pension (国民年金被保険者関係届書(申出書)) by the Japan Pension Service in the month before your 20th birthday. Enter the necessary information, and submit it at your ward office’s Health Insurance and Pension Division (bring your Student ID).
When you do this, you can also apply for the Deferred Payment System for National Pension Contributions (Hokenryo no Nofu Yuyo Seido) and Special Payment System for Students (Gakusei Nofu Tokurei Seido).

Pension Handbook (Nenkin Techo)

Upon completion of the pension enrollment procedures, you will be issued a pension handbook. This handbook is required to receive a regular pension. Once a handbook is issued, it is valid throughout the lifetime of the member, so please keep it in a safe place.

Contribution Payment Exemption System / Special Payment System for Students

If it is difficult for you to pay pension premiums for reasons such as a low income, you can apply for the Pension Premium Exemption Program or the Special Payment System for Students at your local ward office.

Special payment system for students

The Special Payment System for Students allows the applicant to postpone payment of premiums until he/she completes his/her education, finds a job, and is able to pay (degree students only). Although the period for those who receive special authorization is included in the eligibility requirement of 25 years in order to receive a basic old-age pension, this is not reflected in the pension amount.


You can pick up and submit the Application for the Special Payment System for Students (国民年金保険料学生納付特例申請書) at the Education and Student Support Center. (Attach a copy of your Student ID on A4-size paper.)
The Japan Pension Service will screen your exemption application and send you a notification of the outcome (postcard) about 3 months after submission. Applications for exemptions are accepted every year from April until March of the following year. Exemptions must be reapplied for every academic year (April through March of the following year).


Research students/Special Auditing students/Special Research Students are not eligible for the “Special Payment System for Students”, but they can apply for an exemption (Nofu Menjo) or deferment (Nofu Yuyo). Please see the Japan Pension Service website.


Submit a National Pension Payment Exemption/Deferment Application (国民年金保険料免除・納付猶予申請書)(carbon copy form) at your ward office’s Health Insurance and Pension Division.

The Japan Pension Service will screen your exemption application, and send you a notification of approval or rejection about 3 months after submission. Applications for exemptions are accepted every year from July until June of the following year.


If your status at the university changes from “research student/Special Auditing Students/Special Research Students” to “degree student,” you must apply separately for the aforementioned Special Payment System for Students.

Paying Insurance Premiums

Insurance premiums can be paid in cash at convenience stores etc., transferred from your account, or paid with credit cards. Please see the Japan Pension Service(Japanese) website for details.

Lump-Sum Withdrawal Payments for non-Japanese people

If you are a foreign citizen who will not meet the qualification period to receive the basic pension for the elderly, and the total number of months during which National Pension Plan payments were made in full (or half the number of months during which you were exempt from paying half of the amount) is 6 or more months, you can receive a lump-sum withdrawal payment if you apply within 2 years after the date on which you leave Japan.


Please request a Lump-Sum Withdrawal Payment application before leaving Japan.After leaving Japan, enter the necessary items on the application, and send it by airmail to the Japan Pension Service business center (located in Suginami ward, Tokyo).


Lump-sum Withrdrawal Payments(Japan Pension Service)

Inquiries concerning the National Pension Plan

Please contact your local ward office or Social Insurance Office for more information concerning the National Pension plan.

Japan Pension Service Miyagi office (Japanese only)

Useful Resources