Unpaid national pension premiums for fiscal 2000 and 2001 amounted to 1.88 trillion yen, and employers were 430 billion yen behind in corporate-based pension scheme dues as of the end of fiscal 2001, the Social Insurance Agency said Friday.

The agency disclosed the data in answer to queries from Nobuto Hosaka, a member of the Social Democratic Party in the House of Representatives.

The amount of unpaid pension premiums has been rising every year in the two pension programs, the “kokumin nenkin” national program mainly for the self-employed, and the “kosei nenkin” corporate program for private-sector employees. Both are managed by the government.

The trend appears to reflect the impact of the prolonged economic slump as well as a deepening public distrust in the pension system as a whole.

Health, Labor and Welfare Minister Chikara Sakaguchi indicated a sense of crisis over the data and said the government will take into account the current situation in drawing up public pension system reforms scheduled for next year.

“I think young people feel uneasy about how much they will receive from the pension system in the future,” Sakaguchi said. “We’ll try to craft a new system that gives them a solid answer.”

The Social Insurance Agency, a body under the welfare ministry, computes two-year arrears in the national pension program as the government sets a two-year limit in collecting unpaid premiums.

According to government figures, the two-year arrears of unpaid national pension premiums stood at 320 billion yen in fiscal 1982 and has been increasing since. It hit the 1 trillion yen mark in fiscal 1994.

The amount of unpaid corporate pension premiums stood at 70 billion yen in fiscal 1982 and topped 100 billion yen in fiscal 1992. The Social Insurance Agency said it seized the assets of 20,000 employers in fiscal 2001 after they failed to pay the pension premiums withheld from employee payrolls.

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