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 (including part-time jobs). Please be sure to report your income at the municipal office, as correct premium calculations cannot be made if income is not declared.

Reduction of Health Insurance Premium

Premiums are reduced if your previous year's income is below a certain threshold. However, your income must be declared in order to qualify for the reduction. Even if you had no or little income, you still need to declare your income, so don't forget to do so.


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. However, all medical expenses not covered by insurance are to be paid in full.
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 food 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.

Your school will provide you with information on various types of insurance to consider.

This insurance is adopted by the majority of schools in Japan (universities, graduate schools, junior colleges and colleges of technology). Coverage is provided for injuries sustained during classes, commuting to and from school and other instances. Also available is insurance known as "Inbound Futai-Gakuso" as a means of supplementing coverage for international students who belong to the Gakkensai plan. Both of these insurance plans are offered by Japan Educational Exchanges and Services (a public interest incorporated foundation).

Note: Because these insurance plans are not available at certain schools, applicants are advised to contact the specific school to confirm.

This is a university co-op insurance system you can enroll in while attending university.

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