The unsexy part about living in Japan is that you need to deal with official matters, and that usually means reading obscure letters that arrive in your mailbox, in Japanese.
You can always take such notes to whichever official sent them to you and ask them to explain, or have a Japanese person explain, but I like to at least make an effort to read them myself.
Just as an example, and as a note for anyone else getting this in their mailbox recently, here's what I managed to decipher about a national pension note after about an hour of effort. Luckily this one required no response from me, and was just a "for your information" kind of thing.
The rest of this post is my crude translation of the above note. I stopped when I realized no response was needed. I have automatic payments set up, so pension should be just taken from my bank account automatically, and this note was simply telling me how much that will be.
About Japanese National Pension payments
Transfer methods and days
- Payment at the end of next month: The payment for each month's pension is at the end of the next month.
- Payment the same month (early discount monthly payment): Payment day is at the end of each month.
- Two year / one year / six month prepay: Payment day is the last day of the first month of the payment period. Prepaying as a lump sum before the payment period leads to a discount.
What happens when payment was not possible
If payment was not possible on the payment day — for instance due to lack of funds — payment for two months is taken on the following payment day. If payment fails again, payment slip will be sent to you. Please pay at your nearest banking facility.
Furthermore, if advance payment is no longer possible, payment switches to "payment at the end of next month (monthly payment)", and you will no longer be eligible for a discount, so please be careful.
Before and after childbirth payment exception
Since April 2019 there is a system of exempting pension payments before and after childbirth. includes some minor details of the exemption I could not understand:
National pension number one insured person (including those who used to be) before and after childbirth period national pension fee is exempted, exempted period became full amount basic pension guaranteed system in effect since April 2019.
The national pension fee starting from the April 2019 payment up to the March 2020 payment is 16410 JPY per month.
The following explains the exact payment amount, given the method of payment.
goes on to explain the exact sums, with some 400 jpy / month fee added on top