Sweden and Japan sign social security agreement
Minister for Social Security Annika Strandhäll and Japan’s Ambassador Shigeyuki Hiroki today signed a social security agreement between the two countries. The agreement coordinates the Swedish and Japanese public old-age, survivors’ and disability pensions systems.
“The world is getting smaller, and labour market mobility is increasing year on year. Japan is one of our largest trade partners outside the EU, and around 3 000 Swedes work in Japan. This agreement not only increases security for the individual, it is also beneficial for businesses in both countries,” says Ms Strandhäll.
Last year, Japan and Sweden celebrated 150 years of diplomatic relations. During the Swedish State Visit to Tokyo in April 2018, which involved the King and Queen and Swedish government representatives, the two countries agreed to sign a social insurance agreement following several years of negotiations. The agreement aims to ensure that individuals do not lose social security rights that they have accrued – particularly pension rights – when they move between the countries, and that businesses do not have to pay double social security contributions.
The agreement will make it easier for Swedes working in Japan to receive Japanese pension payments in the future if they return to Sweden. It will also enable businesses to post workers to the other country for up to five years. For the duration of the posting, the worker, as well as their accompanying family members, will continue to be covered by their home country’s legislation on the benefits in question.
Next, the countries’ parliaments will need to approve the agreement before it can enter into force.
Japan is the world’s third largest economy, and Sweden’s second-largest export market in Asia. Around 1 500 Swedish businesses currently trade with Japan, and 160 Swedish companies are established in the Japanese market. A free trade agreement between the EU and Japan came into force in February 2019, giving Swedish businesses better access to the Japanese market and its 127 million consumers. The social insurance agreement will help increase security for workers and their family members moving between Sweden and Japan, and also make it easier for Swedish companies to do business with Japan.
Sweden has previously concluded social security agreements with Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Canada, Cap Verde, Chile, India, Israel, Morocco, the Philippines, Serbia, South Korea, Turkey and the United States. The social security systems within the EU are also coordinated.