Can foreign nationals participate in Japan’s health insurance system?

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Japan’s Employee Health Insurance (EHI) System provides health insurance for workers in Japan. Employers are responsible for enrolling their employees in EHI and all employees who work for companies of more than five people must be covered. This applies equally to Japanese employees and foreign nationals. Part time workers whose work arrangements and duties resemble full time workers must also be covered by the EHI.

Employee’s dependents are also covered by the employee’s health insurance. This coverage extends to first, second and third level relatives, which generally means that in-laws and great grandchildren can be covered. To qualify as a dependent, the person must be financially supported by the employee. Employers also have the responsibility of enrolling employee’s dependents if they qualify.

Contributions to the EHI are shared equally between the employer and employee. The employer is responsible for submitting both payments and will automatically deduct the employee’s contribution from his or her paycheck. Taking childcare leave may exempt both the employee and employer from making payments if the proper application is filed.

If you have any questions about tax law in Japan, please contact our office for a legal consultation.