GN 01745.010 Overview of the Japanese Social Security System
The Japanese Social Security system provides a wide range of benefits including retirement, survivors and disability benefits through two separate programs, which together make up a two-tier social insurance system:
The basic program called the National Pension (NP) is a contributory program that covers all residents of Japan, and
Four supplementary earnings-related programs, the most important of which is called the Employees’ Pension Insurance (EPI). The EPI covers workers employed in firms with at least 5 employees, while three smaller earnings-related programs cover distinct occupational groups under government-sponsored mutual aid societies. References to the EPI cover all four supplementary programs.
In addition to retirement, survivors and disability benefits, the Japanese system also provides health insurance benefits.
NOTE: In addition to the NP and EPI programs, there are two voluntary funds. The National Pension Fund and the Employees’ Pension Fund are corporate pension funds for workers in Japan under which both participation and contributions are voluntary. The Japanese government doesn’t exercise control over these private funds, which are intended to supplement the public, two-tier system. The agreement doesn’t apply to these voluntary funds.