Some 10 million people — roughly 45 percent of those registered with the National Pension System — failed to pay at least one month of premiums in fiscal 2002 or fiscal 2003, the Board of Audit said Sunday.

This places them on the list of people who the Social Insurance Agency is urging to pay up.

But the Board of Audit said it found that in many cases municipalities did not hand over the phone numbers of pension members to the agency when premium collection duties were transferred in fiscal 2002.

Amid the rapid aging of society, the National Pension System, which covers self-employed people and students 20 or older, is in crisis as an increasing number of registrants actively or unknowingly miss premium payments.

Audit board officials said they have called on the Social Insurance Agency to join hands with local governments and beef up its premium collection efforts.

According to the Board of Audit and other sources, some 22 million people were registered with the National Pension System in fiscal 2003.

Of these, roughly 10 million people did not pay the 13,300 yen monthly premium for at least one month since April 1, 2002.

At the same time, the investigation by the Board of Audit showed that when collection duties were transferred from municipalities to the Social Insurance Agency on April 1, 2002, many local governments refused to provide the agency with phone numbers of national pension registrants, saying “it was private information,” board officials said.

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