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Barry,

Pixy has already answered your question but since I am
in a similar boat let me add something and re-phrase the question.

I lived in Japan for 10 years, paying into the
employee pension plan which is kinda private and
kinda public. Never really understood it. Moved to
the US just over a year ago.

The Japanese pension rules state that to qualify
for a pension you have to participate for 20 - 25
years. If you are a foreigner who does not qualify
(me and maybe you) because you haven't participated
long enough then when you leave you have 2 years to
claim a lump sum reimbursement or loose everything.

Here's the rub.

The lumpsum is calculated so that if you have worked
for up to 3 years you get approximately 100% of
what you paid in back. Anything more than 3 years and you get back only about 3 years worth of.
your payments!

People working in Japan be warned, you may be throwing away your money and your retirement!

So the question I have is how does the IRS treat this
lump sum that you "have" to take? Could a loss be
claimed?

One point to follow up on Barry is that the pension
system in Japan is under review and I beleive there
is talk of moving over to a 401(k) type plan where
the money really is yours!

Sorry if there is a degree of "rant" in this post.
It touches a tender nerve!

Alex
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