National Pension System

Revised on November 26, 2021

The National Pension – in Japanese, 年金 (nenkin) – is a public pension system for all persons aged 20 to 59 years who have an address in Japan. It provides financial benefits called the “Basic Pension” for old age, disability, or death.

All registered residents of Japan are required to enroll in the National Pension system; the cost per month for the fiscal year 2021 is currently 16,610 yen.


Approximately two weeks after your 20th birthday*, the following will be mailed to you by post:

  • Application to Enroll in the National Pension (関係届)
  • Application for General Payment Exemption (免除・納付猶予申請)
  • Application for Student Payment Exemption (学生納付特例)

*For students whose 20th birthdays fall between when they come to Japan and December 1st, these documents will not be automatically sent. After their birthdays, they should go directly to their Municipal Office to complete necessary procedures.

Fill out the appropriate forms, gather all the required documents, and submit them to the National Pension Office. Applications can also be done at city halls, at civic centers, or via post.

One month after the applications, a blue Pension Book (年金手帳) and National Pension Payment Invoices will be sent to you by post. The Pension Book is very important and must be kept safely. At this point, you do not have to pay the invoices if you will be applying for payment exemptions.

Special Payment System for Students

For students with incomes less than a certain amount, applications can be made at the local Municipal Office to:

  • Postpone any pension payments
  • Exempt oneself from having to pay at all

These applications must be renewed every year. Every year, usually around March, an envelope that contains an application form will be sent by the Japan Pension Service through post. Students should fill it out and mail it back to the Pension Service.