When my friend, a permanent resident, returned to his country, he applied for the pension withdrawal payment, but was told that permanent residents can't get it. Is this true?
Foreign nationals contributing to the pension system in Japan can, after leaving Japan, apply for the pension Lump-sum Withdrawal Payment (dattai ichijikin / 脱退一時金), provided that they meet a number of conditions. Those conditions, specifically, are that the foreign national ➊ must not have Japanese citizenship, ❷ must have made payments for either the National Pension (kokumin nenkin / 国民年金) or Employee's Pension Insurance (kōsei nenkin / 厚生年金) for more than 6 months, ❸ must no longer have a residential address in Japan, and ❹ must never have been eligible to receive a pension (including disability allowance [shōgai teatekin / 障害手当金]). An applicant must meet all of these conditions.
Condition ❹ means that an individual who has the right (acquired through payment of contributions to the Japanese pension system for more than 10 years) to receive a pension in the future is not able to apply for the pension Lump-sum Withdrawal Payment.
An individual residing in Japan with the status of residence of Permanent Resident (eijūsha / 永住者) will have acquired the right to receive a pension after 10 years' payment of contributions, and is thus unable to apply for the Lump-sum Withdrawal Payment.
However, even if a Permanent Resident has made paid contributions for less than 10 years, in some cases it is considered that the individual has acquired the right to receive a pension. A Permanent Resident who meets certain conditions can have an additional eligibility period (gassan taishō kikan / 合算対象期間) added to the contribution-paid period. This is a method applied to those who have made less than 10 years of contributions to allow them to receive a pension.
This additional eligibility period, added to the contribution-paid period of Permanent Residents who received permanent residency permission after 1 May 1961, is the period prior to permission for permanent residence being granted, and spent either in Japan or outside Japan up until December 1981 (before which foreign nationals were excluded from the pension system). If the addition of this period brings the contribution-paid period to over 10 years, the individual is considered to be eligible to receive a pension, and thus unable to apply for the Lump-sum Withdrawal Payment. The application of the additional eligibility period does not affect the amount of pension that one can receive. For information on individual cases, please consult your nearest Japan Pension Service office.
Japan Pension Service offices: https://www.nenkin.go.jp/international/aboutjps/offices.html
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