By Koh Fujimoto

Supporting cross-border families

If your Japanese spouse is receiving the pension payment from Japan, you may be able to receive the survivor’s benefits when your spouse passes away. [i] The essential function of the system is very similar to the U.S. social security’s survivor’s benefits. A surviving spouse can receive a pension in the U.S. or Japan. There is no discrimination based on the nationalities of the spouse. Here is the writing by the Japan Pension Service:

You need to submit a “Report on Pensioner’s Death” (SHIBO TODOKE) when the pensioner dies. (SHIBO TODOKE form is included in the claim form for unpaid pension.) The entitlement of the benefit terminates when the pensioner dies. The deceased person’s survivor needs to submit the report to your nearest JPS Branch Office or Pension Consultation Center (PCC). You need to attach the dead person’s Pension Handbook and other evidence documents such as a certified extract copy of your Family Registry (KOSEKI SHOHON), medical certification on death issued by a medical doctor. If you fail to submit the report, the pension due to the deceased person may be overpaid, and the overpayment must be recovered.

In addition, you can receive unpaid pension benefits for deceased person. It is called Mishikyu Seikyu. The pension benefit is paid for the month of the pensioner’s death. When a pensioner dies, his/her survivor can claim unpaid pension for the deceased person.

To claim the unpaid pension, you need to file “Claim for the Unpaid Pension / Insurance Benefit” (MISHIKYU SEIKYUSHO) at your nearest JPS Branch Office or PCC. You need to submit the documents of evidence, such as a certified copy of the deceased person’s Family Registry (KOSEKI TOHON), and any documents to prove that you were living in the same household and sharing the living with the dead person at the time of death.
The eligible survivors are the deceased person’s spouse, child(ren), parent(s), grandchild(ren), and grandparent(s), or sibling (sister or brother) and other immediate family member(s) within first, second and third degrees (see Note below) who was/were living in the same household and sharing the living at the time of death of the person who had been receiving pension benefits. Priority is given to claimants in the same order.

American spouses need assistance in taking care of the above procedures. Some agencies can submit the necessary paperwork for you. These agencies can handle English communication. Based on my knowledge, their charge starts at $500 or so. If you are interested in obtaining such help, please feel free to contact me. I can refer you to a few agencies.


CDH provides tax filing services for cross-border US-Japan families and strives to resolve and explain their various problems and questions every day. In addition, these people’s issues are complex and wide-ranging, including U.S. and Japanese tax laws, immigration laws, life insurance, and retirement rules.  I intend to make it as easy as possible to understand the points of complex tax laws and regulations. So there are many exceptions. If you take action, be sure to consult with a tax and legal professional for your specific case with specific circumstances.

I explained the same point on YouTube. Would you mind searching our channel called CDH Kaikei Jimusyo?  We also offer free consultations. Would you mind making a reservation from this link?  If you have any questions by e-mail, we will meet you and answer them online.[email protected]/bookings/

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