One more step towards disassociating myself with Japan. I have discussed how foreigners living and working in Japan for at least six months are eligible to get a refund on their Japanese pension when leaving the country permanently. The problem is, the amount refunded is based on the time in Japan, not the actual Yen paid. As a result, since my former employer took a few weeks to get me signed up for the pension, and I technically only paid into it for 11.49 months, I will receive only 40% the total pension payments, as opposed to 90% if I had stayed between 12 and 17 months. Isn't bureaucracy fascinating?
But regarding the timeline...
June 11th, 2008
Mail my pension refund paperwork from Beijing.
October 14th, 2008
Receive notification that my pension will be deposited into my American bank account.
I was just about to contact the Social Insurance Operation Center in Tokyo at 81-3-6700-1165 and test my poor financial Japanese to attempt and learn the status of my application. Thank god that's no longer necessary.
Approximately four months from the mail-in to financial results.
128,000 Yen with 25,600 in taxes for a net total of 102,400 Yen.
Now all that remains is to get that 25,600 Yen back as a tax refund by forwarding the refund notification to my designated "tax agent" in Japan (a process that involved enough paperwork and research in itself).
Questions about this? About to leave Japan yourself and want some money back? Email me.
Useful forum with more information