Wednesday, 10 March 2004

Ceisteanna (155)

Brian O'Shea

Ceist:

223 Mr. O’Shea asked the Minister for Social and Family Affairs the proposals she has to enter into a reciprocal social welfare agreement with Japan; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [7960/04]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Minister for Family)

There are currently no proposals to enter into a reciprocal social welfare agreement with Japan. Reciprocal agreements with non-EU countries have been negotiated where there are a significant number of Irish emigrants to those countries, for example, the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. Such agreements provide protection to persons who would otherwise have an insufficient Irish contribution record to qualify for old age contributory pension, widows and orphans contributory pensions or invalidity pension.

In view of the small number of Irish emigrants in Japan the pursuit of a reciprocal agreement at this time is not considered warranted. No approach has been made by the Japanese authorities for consideration of such an agreement.