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Thank you for the Jan. 4 article “The doctor will see the moneyed and insured, but less fortunate also ail” — about the plight of the uninsured and underinsured in Japan. One point that the article failed to mention is the difficulty of entering the Kokumin Insurance program even if you are a legal resident.

As an employee of the English-teaching company Nova, I was enrolled in its insurance scheme for five years. This service ended with the announcement of the company’s bankruptcy. As a part-time employee, my new employer is not required to provide me with insurance.

If I wish to enroll in the Kokumin Insurance program, I must pay 10 percent of my income last year plus fees for the past two years when I wasn’t even covered. This amounts to an effective charge of 30 percent of my income, an unreasonable demand. Living the past four months without a paycheck has rendered state-run insurance programs an impossibility for me and many others like me.

As one of the industrialized nations, Japan needs to recognize that a growing percentage of its population is represented by foreigners. As taxpayers, they should not be forced to pay extortionist fees to enjoy the same comforts as their Japanese counterparts.

I understand that the Kokumin Insurance laws that are preventing me from getting decent coverage are applied to Japanese citizens as well. But with an insurance structure designating different insurance requirements for foreigners, a Japanese citizen is far less likely to encounter the insurance problems that I am facing now.

jeff patrick