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Guideline 8 Officially Deleted

If you haven't heard by now, the Immigration Bureau has officially deleted Guideline 8 and replaced it with:

"In order to promote signing up for social insurance, we will ask (foreign residents) to present their health insurance card starting April 1. We will not reject renewal or change of visa status for failing to present the card."

In other words, if you aren't enrolled in shakai hoken or kokumin kenko hoken when you go to renew your visa this year, your application will not be refused nor will they try and boot you out of the country.

The headline to The Japan Times article--Foreigners get nod to skip social insurance-- is misleading because the deletion of Guideline 8 has nothing to do with being able to opt out of social insurance. While the Free Choice Foundation is celebrating this as a victory, the law of land still obligates you to enroll in a national health insurance plan. While you'll get your visa, Immigration is still going to ask to see your health insurance card anyway.

For more, Hoofin has been all over this issue (and Ronald Kessler's case) and his latest is worth a read.

Comments

The hit count on my site spun up like crazy today, so when I checked out the links, it turned out that you were the first (of several now!) linking in.

Yeah, I just can't figure out what these guys are thinking -- nothing really changed about the health insurance law. It doesn't matter where the pronouncements came from or whatever. They didn't come from Labor and Health, and so the rule is still very much there.

The Choicers are playing down the fact that the Immigration will still ask people to present a card. I thought that had been one of their key platform items--getting rid of that. So there will still be that nervous moment for those who don't have one. They'll still get the visa in all likelihood, but they'll have to wonder when they're going to get the notice from the local ward office about the insurance coverage . . ..

They'll still get the visa in all likelihood, but they'll have to wonder when they're going to get the notice from the local ward office about the insurance coverage . . ..

It will be interesting to see if immigration only politely reminds people to sign up to SH/KKH or they inform their local ward office about the issue. Of course, those with private insurance can flash that card but who knows how much weight that will carry.

In any case, the key issue is that people will not be denied a visa because of non-payment. It would be a good idea for the J-Gov. to go after the millions of non-paying Japanese citizens before picking on the foreigners.

Shawn, others have a different point of view and feel that common sense has prevailed. Just deal with it ... your diatribe against the "Free choice foundation" is getting old.

I think what Shawn is doing in highlighting the English language teacher issues here, and things surrounding that, is great.

Free Choice Foundation is just wasting people's time. Not just the web surfers, but lately press reporters and government representatives as well. It's one thing to petition government. It's another one to put government workers on the spot about issues which may or may not be under their purview.

That the whole Choicers campaign was never directed at officials in Labor and Health says a lot. The Immigration / Ministry of Justice side said the enrollment in the social insurances would not be a specific factor late last year. Did the Choicers ever go to Labor and Health and equally seek out a ruling about whether non-enrollment is an issue?

If all that isn't bad enough, now there's this new fabrication out there about what the social security totalization treaties do and don't require . . .

It will be interesting to see if immigration only politely reminds people to sign up to SH/KKH or they inform their local ward office about the issue.

Considering the historical near total lack of coordination between the various fiefdoms ministries in the national government, I seriously doubt the Immigration Bureau is going to find the time to be bothered reporting people to either their localities or to the Health and Labor Ministry.

It would be a good idea for the J-Gov. to go after the millions of non-paying Japanese citizens before picking on the foreigners.
Yes, that would be good, as would going after companies run by Japanese and/or foreigners that do not properly register their employees with the system. Going after those coming in for a visa always struck me as "taking the easy way out" - why do real work when you can wait for people to come to you?

Still, saying "well Japanese are not paying into the system..." is not an excuse, anymore than telling the cop that stopped you for speeding "well, other people are speeding too...". Doesn't matter - if you get caught breaking the law/doing something wrong then you get caught breaking the law/doing something wrong. What others may or may not be doing is irrelevant. Christ, I learned that before I was out of diapers. Didn't your mother ever teach you that? She should have.

others have a different point of view and feel that common sense has prevailed.
Anyone who thinks "dodging the law" is "common sense" needs to get their moral compass retuned.

your diatribe against the "Free choice foundation" is getting old.
Yes, because they are such nice folks and all... misrepresenting what the law is, advising others on how to skip out of their legal obligations, promoting "free choice" in the name of lining their own pockets, really, aside from their being liars and shysters, what's not to like about them, right?

If the J government wants to get tough on NHI payments, they should actually enforce the laws on ALL (corporations and individuals) equally. If they did, all the eikaiwa teachers (and many others) would be enrolled in shakai hoken, and the issue would be moot.

Why does immigration let employers sponsor work visas in the first place if they break labor laws by not providing shakai hoken ? It should be the INITIAL visa they crack down on, rather than renewals. And doing so would be easier, wouldn't it? XYZ Eikaiwa doesn't follow its legal shakai obligations? No work visas sponsored by XYZ Eikaiwa get approved then!
But then, that would mean cracking down on Japanese corporations instead of vulnerable gaijin who don't make political contributions.

Level3, for once we see completely eye-to-eye. I absolutely agree.

Question is, why don't the govt. crack down on SH non-enrolment? Methinks there's a nice cosy little arrangement going on behind the scenes somewhere....

The Japanese let bad situations continue.

And then the justification is, "look how long the situation has been going on! It would be too much upset to change things now!"

This is why things that should take just one afternoon take several years instead, if ever.

The Japanese let bad situations continue.

Sure, kind of like Americans let a bad situation concerning their near-broken social security system or welfare system continue. Because Americans are lazy and think it is "too much trouble" to change now. Wrong.

Blame bureaucratic inertia. Blame the fact that if the changes to the law that need to be made actually were made any pol that voted "yes" would open himself up for being thrown out on his keister in the next election. But don't blame some mythical, monolithic group called "the Japanese". I thought you were smarter than that, Hoofin.

2 days ago..was not asked to produce the health card...nor was reminded to get one..everyone was really friendly and nice..and there were zero troubles at all...very smooth...it actually was the highlite of a shitty week..visa?...no problems..

jobs?...another story.

well..at least now i can tell Keiko my Cunt part-time boss to go fuck herself if I feel like it.

Thanks for posting this, Shawn. I've been freaking out the past month or so because of the rumors and lack of information floating about. My visa's up on April 8th, one week after this is supposed to take effect. So anyone who gets their visa now won't have to do the guidelines.

I'm not opposed to joining the social insurance program, but there's no way I can afford backpay on 6 years, especially when I've been covered via private insurance. They should just do a general amnesty for people who were misled by employers that private insurance would suffice.

someone else was saying the same thing in a different thread a while back..a general amnesty, and lots of folk would come forward to comply...surely thats better than ZERO income for them..

its not our fault Nova and them other bums didnt tell us about this..it could be argued we shoulda looked into it..but lets be honest..who looks up all the rules and regs of a place, especially when its your first time working abroad (as is the case with most folk here i think) and especially after Nova et al TELL you we have insurance for you..>>I<< just thought."oh..ok..we got insurance".and thought nothing else of it...

insurance..a waste of money..until you need it.

But don't blame some mythical, monolithic group called "the Japanese". I thought you were smarter than that, Hoofin.

LB, I'm not blaming all the Japanese. If you follow my blog, I'm very clear that the everyday Japanese are as much vicitimized by some of things that go on here. I honestly believe, when the GI's saw this in the late 1940's, it made for a very strong alliance between the Japanese people and America.

When I say "the Japanese" in that context, of course I mean the Japanese who can do something about it.

LB, you're wrong about reforms to America's pension and welfare systems. To the first, there was a reform in 1983 that should keep the system on permanent keel, despite the naysayers who point to the low baseline every year that it goes bust in 2040. Obama's stimulus credit makes the program even more fair. The welfare system in America has been wanting for years, of course. I never said America was a perfect country.

2 days ago..was not asked to produce the health card...nor was reminded to get one..everyone was really friendly and nice..and there were zero troubles at all...very smooth...it actually was the highlite of a shitty week..visa?...no problems.

Canadajin, are you aware that if you don't pay into a Japanese pension system, you will not build "OAS" credits back in Canada? (This is the subsistence Old Age Pension that you get based on years of residence in Canada. If you are in Japan, you only get credit if you are participating in the Japanese system . . . )

Jhoosier says:

I'm not opposed to joining the social insurance program, but there's no way I can afford backpay on 6 years, especially when I've been covered via private insurance. They should just do a general amnesty for people who were misled by employers that private insurance would suffice.

Jhoosier, if you are from Indiana as your screen name suggests, do you realize that if you aren't in the Japanese system, the presumption is that you are supposed to be paying into the IRS (at 15.3%) on your income here, as self-employment tax? Ron Kessler has been putting out this story this weekend, that somehow Americans are required to be in private insurance. In fact, you are supposed to be in the Japanese legitimate system unless you certify to private insurance AND that you will not use the Japanese system at all. (Which, as I've been saying, sounds scary.)

GENERAL AMNESTY -

To all the posters, I agree with you. I think there has been so much corruption in how the Japanese administered this, that they should be willing to waive the difference for anyone who's been paying into a private scheme. So, if you have been paying 50,000 yen a year (not deductible) into a private plan, and the real charge should have been 60,000 (after tax, to kokumin kenko hoken), they should only ask for the 10,000 for each year.

This would make everyone even with what should have happened.

but a lot of time and political effort has been wasted with the Kesslerites' political shenanigans.

great heads up....my smart ass brother should be telling me all these things as well..he's the one with the big wallet and the 3 lawyers, supposed to look after everyone Mafia-style.

Personally, I plan on sitting on a crate of TNT when i hit 65.

KA BLAMMO!

"there he goes!"

"I love im!"

Tomorrow I will have something up on the blog about how the Ministry of Internal Affairs will be recording both pension and health insurance enrollment as part of the new "Zairyu Card".

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