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The premium payment rate for Kokumin Nenkin (national pension) — a public pension system for self-employed people, part-time workers, jobless people, etc. — fell to a record 62.1 percent in fiscal 2008. The situation suggests that modifications should be made to the plan under which the Social Insurance Agency will be abolished and taken over by a new entity in January 2010.

The premium payment rate is derived by dividing the number of months in which pension system participants actually paid premiums by the number of months in which they were supposed to pay premiums. The rate started to fall from the peak of 85.7 percent in fiscal 1992 and hit a low of 62.8 percent in fiscal 2002. Although the rate was 63.9 percent in fiscal 2007, it fell to a new low the next year. Since the government’s target is 80 percent, the situation should be considered serious.

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