Marc has a question about pension refunds for foreigners: "I was a resident of Japan for about 25 years and I paid into the system for about 20 years. Six years ago my Japanese employer transferred me to Vietnam. Since then we did an employee exchange with a South African company. This company has been paying my salary in Vietnam, but not my social benefits in Japan.

"My employment will terminate with the South African company in 2012 and I am scheduled to return to Japan later next year. My question is: Does the Japanese pension system still refund money to foreigners who have paid in and leave the country?"

First of all, which pension system have you contributed to: the National Pension System (kokumin nenkin) or the Employee Pension System (kōsei nenkin)? The rules vary slightly for each in how they address cases such as yours.