• Kyodo News


Japan and Brazil signed a social security agreement Thursday that exempts their citizens from paying pension premiums in both countries when living as expatriates.

The pact, which allows Japanese and Brazilian nationals to accumulate pension payments in whichever of the two countries they reside in, was formally endorsed by Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada and visiting Brazilian Social Security Minister Carlos Eduardo Gabas.

The pact will reduce the financial burden on expatriates and is expected to boost personnel and economic exchanges between the two countries.

During the signing ceremony at the Foreign Ministry, Okada said the agreement will benefit both countries.

“I am certain that the new accord will be of great help at a time when Japanese businesspeople are very interested in the emerging economy of Brazil, and Brazilians in Japan are facing difficulties amid the economic crisis following the Lehman shock,” Okada said, referring to the collapse of securities house Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. in September 2008.

Gabas expressed hope that Brazilians living in Japan and Japanese businesspeople in Brazil will be “socially protected” by the accord.

Roughly 40 percent of Japanese-Brazilians living in Japan avoid paying into the Japanese pension program because the existing arrangements prevent their premium payments from counting toward their Brazilian pensions.

About 60,000 Japanese nationals live in Brazil and about 300,000 Brazilians live in Japan.

Long-term foreign residents in Japan are required to pay into the public pension system but are not eligible for benefits unless they have paid premiums for 25 years.

The new accord stipulates that Japanese and Brazilian expatriates in the two countries will only pay into the pension program of their home country if they leave the other country within five years.

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