Those that leave Japan in their first 3 years of residence (xx% of foreigners) receive a pension refund of approxiametly xx?. It can almost be seen as a forced savings plan. People staying longer than years but who leave Japan before qualifying for a pension are seriously penalized. We are currently looking at ways to have the pension refund system improved and have begun contacting foreign governments to place pressure on the Japanese government to this end. In December, the GU met with Jill Hall, Federal Member for Shortland (Australia). As a member of the committee examing pension treaties, Ms Hall was especially interested in the refund system. In Australia, all employees (full & part-time) are enrolled in compulsory “superanuation”. Employees contribute 9% of their salary to the scheme with this being matched by the employer – much like Japan. The difference is the refund for foreign nationals. When foriegn nationals permanently leave Australia they can receive a refund of all their contributions as well as the contributions made by the employer. They are also entitled to interest earnings. Considering the benefit of the Australian refund system to Japanese nationals, Ms Hall wondered why Australians living in Japan are being treated this way. The General Union is currently preparing a formal submission for the Australian Pension Treaty Commission and will update you as the case progresses. if you are interested in helping to improve the Japanese pension refund system please contact us at union(@)generalunion.org.