Media Release by The Hon Mal Brough MP

Social Security Agreement with Japan

A new Social Security Agreement between Australia and Japan will help to promote closer economic relations between the two countries and provide better access to age pensions for individuals who have worked in both countries.

The Minister for Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, Mal Brough, and the Japanese Ambassador, His Excellency Mr Hideaki Ueda, signed the Agreement today.

Mr Brough said this Agreement would assure the pension rights of people who move between Australia and Japan is recognised in both countries.

"The Australian and Japanese Governments have agreed to contribute fairly to supporting people who have lived and worked in both countries," Mr Brough said.

"Australians will now be able to count relevant periods in Australia to help them get a Japanese pension.

"The Agreement will also help former residents of Australia of age pension age living in Japan, who will be able to claim a pension without having to return to Australia.

"The Australian Government is committed to maximising the income of people who have lived and worked in other countries through its network of social security agreements.

"The Agreement also includes provisions to avoid double superannuation coverage of workers sent temporarily between Australia and Japan, where superannuation contributions are required to be made in both countries for the employee.

"These provisions, which impact on Australia’s Superannuation Guarantee arrangements, will reduce costs for business in both countries and promote closer economic relations between Australia and Japan," Mr Brough said.

The signing of the Agreement, along with the launch of negotiations on an Australia-Japan Free Trade Agreement, will assist in marking the 50th anniversary of the Australia-Japan Agreement on Commerce this year. The Agreement is expected to commence operating on 1 January 2009.

Australia has social security agreements in place with Austria, Belgium, Canada, Chile, Croatia, Cyprus, Denmark, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Malta, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Slovenia, Spain and the USA. Agreements with Switzerland and Korea have also been signed but have not commenced.