By Roy C. Mabasa
The Philippines and Japan have exchanged diplomatic notes on the completion of constitutional requirements for an agreement between them on social security.
The exchange of notes followed the decision of Tokyo to adopt a policy plan that would expand the hiring of up to 500,000 foreign workers through 2025 to address the shortage of unskilled laborers in areas like agriculture and construction.
In a statement issued over the weekend, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said the agreement will entitle both Filipino and Japanese nationals to coverage of social security benefits in either country. The agreement will take effect on August 1.
Employees sent from Japan to the Philippines and vice versa are currently subject to compulsory coverage under the social security systems of both countries.
The agreement, according to the DFA, enables the establishment of eligibility to receive pension in each country by adding up the periods of social security coverage in both countries.
As soon as the agreement takes effect, employees temporarily dispatched for a period of five years or less to the other country will be covered only by the pension system of the country they came from.
The National Diet (Legislature) of Japan ratified the agreement in April 2016.
Figures from the Philippine Embassy in Tokyo showed there are more than 250,000 Filipinos who currently live or work in Japan. More than 200,000 of them are permanent migrants, while around 50,000 are temporary migrants.