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Life in Japan


National Health Insurance (NHI)

In Japan, a national health insurance system is available to reduce medical costs.
Foreign residents who will be staying in Japan for three months or more have to subscribe to the National Health Insurance program (NHI; also known as "Kokuho").

Registration procedures

Register for the National Health Insurance at the municipal office after completing resident registration in your local municipal office.

Health insurance premium

Health insurance premium is calculated according to your previous year's income(incl. part time job) Unless you make a declaration of your incom, it wouldn't be caluculated accuraetely.You need to hand in your declaration to the municipal office.

Reduction of health insurance premium

Your previous year's income wouldn't reach certain standard, the amount of your health insurance premium would be redued.To receive this reduction,you need to declare your income to the municipal office.Even though your income is nil or low, declaration is needed to receive reduction.



When receiving treatment for injuries or illnesses, you have to present your insurance card to be eligible for the discounted payment. Since 70% of the total medical cost is covered by the National Health Insurance, you will need to pay 30% of the total medical bill. Take note that the medical cost for treatments not covered by the insurance scheme has to be paid in full at your own expense.
The National Health Insurance program has a system for refunding medical expenses that exceed your individual limit if your medical costs in a single month are high. In addition, if you need to be hospitalized, etc., you can apply for and receive an eligibility certificate that entitles you to receive the ceiling amount in advance. This will allow you to keep the amount you pay at the hospital to your individual limit.

Accident/property insurance and mutual aid (kyosai)

To cover expenses incurred by an unexpected accident, etc. that is not covered by National Health Insurance, there are casualty insurance plans and personal liability insurance plans that international students can register for.
For example, the following cases would be covered:

  • If the oil you are using to deep-fry foods catches fire and burns your kitchen, requiring the walls to be redone.
  • If you ride a bicycle and injure someone else, and must pay for their medical expenses.
  • If your room is burglarized while you are not there, and items, such as your personal computer or camera, are stolen.

Information on various types of insurance will be provided by your school. It is a good idea to take them into consideration.