Obihiro University of Agriculture and Veterinary Medicine

National Health Insurance

National Health Insurance (Kokumin Kenko Hoken 国民健康保険)

International students who reside in Japan for longer than three months and whose status of residence is “Student” must join the National Health Insurance (NHI). The purpose of the National Health Insurance System is to have the cost of medical treatments shared by the national and local governments, and patients, so that individuals can receive medical care without worrying about the costs. Within 14 days from your arrival in Japan, after your register your place of residence at the Family Register and Family Affairs Section at Obihiro City Hall, go to the National Insurance Section and join the NHI. Joining the NHI is mandatory, not optional.

If you have already been living in Japan before entering Obihiro University of Agriculture and Veterinary Medicine, withdraw from the NHI at the local municipal government office where you are living before moving to Obihiro. Rejoin the NHI after you move to Obihiro.

Items Necessary to Join

You need to bring your Residence Card to join the NHI. If you did not get your Residence Card when you entered Japan, show your passport at the NHI section. Later the Certificate of Person Insured by National Health Insurance (insurance card) will be mailed to your registered address.


The NHI fee varies depending on the area where you live and your income. For an international student who has just come to Japan, it will be a little less than 2,000 yen per month. However, if your income increases because of a part-time job, your NHI fee for the next fiscal year will increase accordingly, since the fee is calculated based on the income of the preceding financial year. Your scholarship is not included in your income. If you have difficulty in paying the fee, there are systems of fee reduction, payment deferral, and installment payments available. Ask the NHI Section of the City Hall for details.

Benefits of Joining NHI

By showing the insurance card at a clinic or hospital, 70% of the total medical costs covered by the Health Insurance Act will be paid by the NHI. In other words, you have to pay only 30% of the doctor’s fee and cost of medicine.

Also there is a system to help pay for extremely expensive medical treatments (not applicable for types of treatment not covered by the NHI).

Furthermore, the medical expenses you pay outside Japan, for example, during a temporary return home, may be refunded if you apply (not applicable for types of treatment not covered by the NHI).

You cannot use these systems unless you pay the NHI fee. If you don’t pay, you will receive a letter or telephone call from the City Hall requesting payment. The simplest way to pay is to set up an automatic bank transfer after you open a bank account so that you will not forget to pay. You can do this procedure at the NHI section of the City Hall or the bank where you opened your account, so take your bill for the NHI fee, you bankbook, seal (hanko) used for the bankbook and your identification there.

National Pension Insurance

The National Pension Insurance (National Pension) is an insurance system provided by the Japanese government, in which the following three pensions will be available to those who have paid a monthly insurance fee:

  1. Old-age basic pension: starts for those who have paid the insurance fee for a certain period of time after they turn 65 years of age.
  2. Disability basic pension: is provided to those who are enrolled in the National Pension when they become disabled because of disease or injury.
  3. Survivor’s basic pension: is provided the families of those who are enrolled in the National Pension die.

Enrollment in the National Pension is a legal obligation. However, the insurance fee is too expensive for many international students (¥14,980/month in the fiscal year 2012). After joining, we recommend that you apply for the student payment waiver system. Technically, it is a deferral until you enter the workforce. Apply at the NHI Section of the City Hall.

Even though you completed the procedures for the waiver after you enrolled, you will receive a payment notice at the beginning, but you do not have to pay the insurance fee.

However, if your annual income is beyond a certain amount, you may not be eligible for the exemption the next fiscal year. Ask the NHI Section of the City Hall for the details.

For Those Whose Period of Residence Is Three Months or Less

Those whose period of residence is three months or less cannot join the NHI or National Pension. Therefore, in case you are involved in an accident, or sick or injured in Japan, you must get an insurance policy that covers expenses in such cases before you come to Japan. After you get an insurance policy, email a copy of the certificate of insurance to the Staff for International Students.

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