GU Member sues Osaka Gaigo for pension damages – March 13

Feb 26, 2017

Date: Monday, 13 March
Time: 1:15pm

Meet up:

Just us know which is most convenient for you.

1. Oebashi Station (Keihan line). Exit 6. Take the elevator up to the road. 12:40pm
2. Osaka District Court, main building, in the lobby on the first floor. 13:00pm

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Case Background

Roy had just retired and, after twenty-five years of hard work, looked forward to his retirement years – until he found out about his monthly pension.

He didn’t expect to be a millionaire in retirement, but figured that after twenty-five years of working in Japan he’d have a reasonable pension to depend on during his retirement days.

Unfortunately, this wasn’t the case at all.

A quick call to the General Union – the union that he had been a member of for seventeen years – confirmed the problem: there was a shortfall.

The shortfall didn’t lie with Roy, but with his employer – an employer who had failed to enroll him for the first nine years of his employment…


Before we continue, let’s clarify a small but important point:

Roy worked at the company for twenty five years – exactly the minimum number of years required to get a pension (Please note that the law has now change and only 10 years enrollment is required to qualify for a pension) – but he wasn’t enrolled for the first nine years, thereby rendering him ineligible if it weren’t for “kara kikan” (for permanent residents in Japan, the number of years between the ages of twenty and your age when you came to Japan).

He was forty years old when he came to Japan, so twenty (40-20), plus sixteen years of enrollment at his company, meant that Roy had cleared the twenty-five year hurdle to receive the pension.

However, while kara kikan works for eligibility, he still lost out on the amount of the entitlement because of his non-enrollment during the first nine years of his time in the country.

So, what could he do?


Thankfully, Roy’s numerous years of union dues weren’t wasted. Instead of having to immediately go to a lawyer, he had his union to support him.

The General Union asked a social insurance accountant to check what he would have received had his employer enrolled him from the beginning of his employment, and the union made this exact monetary demand on the employer. We had initially hoped the issue could be solved at the bargaining table, but Osaka Gaigo refused and decided to take their chances with the courts.

But what excuses can the employer even make to counter the union’s demands for payment?

Well, this is what they said:

“Roy never asked to be enrolled during his first nine years.”

Enrollment is not based on an employee request. Only the employer can enroll and it is completely the employer’s duty to enroll. In fact, you cannot refuse enrollment; it’s a tax which you are required to pay 50/50 with your employer.

Unfortunately for Osaka Gaigo, public insurance is not based on the individual agreement of each worker and employer – it is a public duty which cannot be refused by either party.