What is ‘Category III insured persons’? Will Japanese pension of dependent partners be abolished?

By | 01/08/2023

Category III insured persons can get a qualification of old age pension without paying contributions

(Note: This is a renewal of our past article in 2021, with adding the latest developments)

Dependent spouses whose partner is enrolled in Kosei Nenkin (employees’ pension) or Kyosai Kumiai (pension scheme for public servants and teachers) are called “Category III insured persons” (第3号被保険者 in Japanese). Category III insured persons will get a qualification to receive Japanese old age pension after they are insured over 10 years, without paying contributions by themselves.

The status of “Category III insured persons” is granted ONLY to dependent spouses whose partner is enrolled in Kosei Nenkin / Kyosai Kumiai. If your partner is not employed but earns independently, then you and your partner are both required to pay Kokumin Nenkin (*).

(*) Except for specially exempt ones such as students or unable to pay due to low incomes.

Contributors of Kosei Nenkin / Kyosai Kumiai are required to pay much contributions according to their incomes, that is not the same as a fixed contribution for Kokumin Nenkin. But their dependent partners have an advantage to become “Category III insured persons”.

No lump-sum withdrawal payments for “Category III insured persons”

“Category III insured persons” are out of a qualification to claim their lump-sum withdrawal payments (lump-sum pension refund) even if they are non-Japanese.
You can claim your lump-sum pension refund only for periods in that you really pay contributions / or your employer deducts contributions from your salary. Please note that, even if you were in Japan as a dependent spouse in some periods, you can claim your lump-sum pension refund if you had periods in that you were employed or you paid contributions by yourself.

Proposal to abolish “Category III”

Rengo (連合, national center of Japanese labor unions) is reported to plan a proposal to abolish “Category III” system from Japanese pensions. Details are shown in the article below (Japanese).

“Category III” system was established in 1985, under the family model of “the husband works and his wife stays at home”.

But now Rengo criticize this model as too old-fashioned for the recent Japanese families, so they are trying to propose another pension system according to the more suitable family model.

Whether “Category III” system should be abolished might be discussed in the government in the future, but it is also reported that there is an opposition against the proposal even inside labor unions.

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