Recently announced changes to immigration guidelines link your visa to enrollment in government approved health insurance. This means kokumin kenko hoken or shakai hoken/shigaku kyosai (Employee’s health & Pension).
Talks between the Union & Immigration has confirmed this. Being enrolled in insurances such as Interglobal, Global Health, or Vida Vida will not satisfy immigration. The guidelines will be enforced from April 2010 but there is already antecdotal evidence that it is beginning earlier.
This leaves you with two options -
Be insured through your employer on shakai hoken/shigaku kyosai or enroll yourself on kokumin kenko hoken through your ward office.
The danger in enrolling in kokumin kenko hoken is that you may be hit with a back bill of up to 2 years for the health insurance and the pension.
Japanese law clearly states that all workers should be enrolled on shakai hoken/shigaku kyosai, and the General Union has been fighting for access for foreigners to the system since 2004. As a result we have seen Aeon enroll all teachers, ECC provide the option for all teachers to be enrolled, and an increased number of Berlitz & Nova teachers being enrolled. We have also been successful in negotiating for the enrollment of full-time & part-time high school teachers.
Cross posted from the General Union website.