Frequently asked questions

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Public insurance
Are foreigners eligible for National Health Insurance?

According to the National Health Insurance Law, people who are not eligible to enroll in NHI include:

  1. Those who are covered by other public health insurance programs
  2. Those who are receiving public assistance from the Welfare Program
  3. Non-Japanese nationals (Article 1 Section 2 Enforcement Regulations to National Health Insurance) who meet the following conditions:
    • Those who are staying in Japan without resident status
    • Those who are not listed in the Resident Registration Card system (Foreign nationals staying in Japan with “Entertainer,” “Technical Intern,””Dependent,” or “Designated Activities” status who are granted a period of residence shorter than three months may be enrolled in the NHI if their documentary evidence show that they are going to stay in Japan for over three months.)
    • Those with “Designated Activities” resident status who came to Japan with an aim to get medical treatment or to care for those who come to Japan for medical treatment
    • Those who come from a country with which Japan signed a bilateral Social Security Agreement that covers medical insurance and who are insured by public health insurance back home
Although people with “Diplomacy” or “Official” status are excluded from the obligation of Resident Registration, those staying with “Official” status are covered by the NHI if their period of residence is three months or longer.
I’m a long term resident in Japan. I became ill during a short stay in my country. Does my National Health Insurance cover the medical expenses overseas?

It is possible to claim National Health Insurance for medical treatment received abroad. There are, however, exceptions, such as the below:

1)Treatments that are not covered by National Health Insurance even inside Japan

2) When the insured traveled abroad for the purpose of receiving medical care

For details, please ask at National Health Insurance section of you city.

I’m worried that I may have contracted HIV. Where can I get tested?

The result will be notified to you about one week after the examination. To obtain a reliable test result, it is advisable you wait 3 months after infection to be tested since HIV antibody formation takes 6 to 8 weeks. You can get tested for the AIDS causing Human Immune-deficiency Virus (HIV) at no charge at a local public health center without disclosing your name.

Osaka Prefectural Government/ Department of Public Health and Medical Affairs/Public Health and Medical Administration Office/Medical Administration Division  06-6944-9156

You can also get AIDS examinations free of charge at the following sites:
Communication Hub of testing, counseling and support (chotCAST 06-4708-5035) .

I think I am afflicted with depression. How can I find a psychiatrist?

When you are mentally unstable because of unfamiliar circumstances in Japan and some other reasons, and are seeking treatment at mental institutions, you can consult at the following places for referrals.

Public health centers in your area
Osaka Prefecture Mental Health Center
Osaka Municipal Mental Health Center
Sakai Municipal Mental Health Center

You can also access online Osaka Medical Institution Information System for psychiatric hospitals and clinics information at Osaka Medical Information System.

Vaccination・Medical examination
I want to get inoculations for my overseas travel. Where can I get one?

You need to get inoculation before traveling abroad where an international inoculation certificate (so called yellow card) is required. Even if it is not required, getting inoculation is helpful to protect you from being infected overseas. You can ask medical institutions or Quarantine Office whether or what kind of inoculation you should get before you travel overseas. Inoculations are not covered by public health insurance and the cost can vary depending on medical institutions.

Institutions where you can get inoculated in Osaka:
Osaka Quarantine Office: 06-6571-3522
Kansai International Quarantine Office: 072-455-1283
Osaka Medical Association Center 06-6768-1486
Infectious Disease Center/Osaka Municipal General Hospital :06-6929-1221
Osaka International Airport Medical Center 06-6856-6485

I found that I am pregnant. But I am currently unemployed and don’t seem to be able to afford the cost of childbirth. Can I get any help?I’m subscribing to National Health Insurance scheme.

Normal pregnancies/child deliveries are not classified as an illness, and are thus not covered by health insurance. Expectant mothers must pay a lump sum up front at the hospital when they give birth; if you simply can’t afford it, consult with your local municipal office.

①Lump-Sum Allowance for Childbirth: those covered by National Health Insurance are eligible to receive approximately 420,000 yen. Apply at the National Health Insurance Division. (Japan Obstetric Compensation System *404,000 yen for those ineligible)

②Direct Payment (Receiving Agent) System: As a general rule, this system allows the insured person to pay the medical institution directly for childbirth costs not exceeding 420,000 yen, eliminating the need to prepare a lump sum up front. Apply at the National Health Insurance Division.

③Child Birth Support : those whose income is below a certain threshold are eligible for this system, in which expectant mothers can receive financial assistance if they give birth at designated facilities. Apply at the Welfare Department or Health and Welfare Center in your municipality.

Pension system
I have been paying premiums for employees’ pension for 6 years now, but I have to return to my country. Can I have lump-sum reimbursement?

 A foreign national enrolled in the Japanese employees’ pension scheme for six months or longer can apply for lump-sum withdrawal payments after leaving Japan. The amount of payment is determined in accordance with the period of enrollment for up to three years.

1) The applicant does not posses Japanese citizenship.
2) The applicant has paid Employees’ pension contributions for a total of six months or longer.  
3) The applicant does not have a place of residence in Japan
4) The applicants has never been qualified for receiving pension benefits including Disability Allowance

*Lump-sum withdrawal payments from August 2017 onwards
You cannot claim a lump-sum payment if you have paid ten or more years’ worth of pension premiums. However, you are eligible to receive Japanese pension when you become a senior in the future.

To receive the payments, send a claim form for the lump-sum withdrawal payments together with the following documents to the Japan Pension Service within two years of your departure.

Photocopy of your passport   
Your pension handbook 
Document showing details of your bank account

You can get updated information on how to calculate your benefit amount at the in various languages at Japan Pension Service HP.

Child care・One parent
I need to send my infant child to a nursery school because I’ve started working. What should I do?

In Japan, nurseries are categorized as welfare facilities for children, run under the supervision of the Health, Welfare and Labor Ministry. They are designed for children whose parents cannot look after them during daytime due to work and other reasons. Children should be aged between 0 and preschool age to be admitted. There are generally two types of nurseries: 
1) Authorized nurseries meet minimum requirements stipulated by the Child Welfare Law and are authorized by local governments. Fees can vary depending on the parents’ income, the children’s age and the place they live. 
2) Non-authorized nurseries include so-called baby hotels or overnight care facilities and day care centers and do not necessarily have authorization from local governments. Each facility charge differing fees for their services. Please contact each nursery for information/admission.

To be admitted to an authorized nursery, you need to produce valid reasons, such as work commitments, for not being able to look after their children during daytime. Application can be made at your city office.

I am a divorced mother who is raising children on my own in Japan. I need financial assistance because I can hardly make ends meet raising my children.

If you are raising your children born between you and a Japanese husband and are now divorced, you are probably staying with “Long Term” residency status. If you have this residential status, you can apply for various forms of public assistance as a single parent. Among them are:

  1. Child Allowance (jido teate) is paid to a family raising an eligible child and isn’t limited to single parent households. Those eligible are residents in Japan, who have completed their resident registration. Foreign residents are also eligible as long as they have completed resident registration and are raising child/ren of the prescribed age bracket. Income threshold applies to recipients. To apply, contact the Child Allowance Section of your City/Ward office.
  2. Child Support Allowance (jido fuyo teate) is paid to a single mother/father or a guardian who looks after a cohabiting child until the first March 31 following the child’s 18th birthday (or in the case of a child with a disability, up to the age of 20.) Income threshold is applied. For more detailed information, please refer to the Osaka Prefecture Government/Welfare Department.

To apply for the above allowance, please contact Child Support Allowance section of your municipal office. More information is available at “Information for Single Parent Households” provided by Osaka Prefectural Government/Welfare Department.

Livelihood assistance・Financial assistance
Are foriengers living in Japan eligible for public assistance under the Public Assistance Law? How can I apply for the service?

Foreigners do not have a legal right to get such public assistance because the law is originally intended for Japanese nationals, but the Public Assistance Law is applied to destitute foreigners at the discretion of the government, provided they meet either one of the following requirements:

1. Foreigners listed in Appended Table 2 of the Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition Act. (Permanent Resident, Spouse of a Japanese National, Spouse of a Permanent Resident, and Long-term Resident)
2. Special Permanent Residents recognized under the Special Act on the Immigration Control of, Inter Alia, Those Who Have Lost Japanese Nationality Pursuant to the Treaty of Peace with Japan
3. Foreigners who are recognized as refugees under the provisions of Article 1 of the Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees or the provisions of Article 1 of the Protocol Relating to the Status of Refugees.

To receive public assistance, you need to apply for recognition to the municipal office where you registered for Resident Registration, which is responsible for assisting the foreigners who meet the above criteria.


Osaka Foundation of International Exchange, Planning and Promotion Group