Healthcare In Japan



The Japanese are renowned for being healthier and leading well-managed lifestyles, evident with a high life expectancy of 82 years. Regarded as the best medical system in the world with its excellent facilities, Japan's healthcare is still reasonably priced compared to the US. 

In Japan, medical coverage is mandatory for all Japanese citizens and expatriates that have a work permit or valid visa. It is also compulsory for foreign nationals with a visa exceeding 90 days to be enrolled in either of the two Japanese public healthcare schemes. As a leader in technological innovation, expats can expect to find the latest medical equipment and newest inventions designed for healthcare in Japan. On top of the modernised and state of the art treatments, the Land of the Rising Sun still offers numerous alternative health therapies, such as folk remedies (hot springs baths, and chemical and herbal over-the-counter medications) and traditional healers (herbalists, masseurs, and acupuncturists) that are appealing to Westerners and visitors. 

Japan’s Public Healthcare Scheme 

Japan’s universal public health insurance system is divided into two tiers: 

In this country, employers that have more than five full-time employees are required to provide its workers and their dependents with medical insurance as well as with healthcare in the time of childbirth, sickness and injury. EHI covers up to 80% of the employee’s health care needs and up to 70% for their dependents. The NHI, on the other hand, is also mandatory and covers not just the working/salaried population but also all Japanese citizens. Under the NHI, healthcare expenses are covered for up to 70%, 80-90% for members aged 74 and above and 80% for children aged three and below. 

Healthcare (medical and dental) is provided free to all native Japanese and surprisingly, also for foreigners. In addition, 70% or more of the cost is paid by the public health insurance for each consult and prescribed drug. The main objective of this scheme is to provide equal access to all patients who need medical care. Everyone can choose their own physician and facilities. 

The Registration Process 

Aside from the mandatory Employees’ Health Insurance that expats will most likely receive from their employers, they can also register with the NHI or National Health Insurance scheme by going to the nearest local city hall or municipal office near their area of residence. After registering, the expat and his dependents will each receive an insurance card that they must bring every time they will go to a public hospital or clinic. Members of the NHI need to update their registration every time they change address, give birth, loss dependent status and in case of card loss. 

Doctors and Medical Services 

Many Japanese surgeons and specialists graduated in high profile universities in the US and Europe. However, there is a significantly smaller number of Japanese that practice their medical profession, mainly because they are focused on developing new technology outside the health care industry, and give more importance to their family business.

Medical and healthcare services in Japan are delivered either through national/regional public hospitals or private clinics and hospitals. Patients are treated as soon as they go to hospitals but be mindful that medical facilities in this country operate on a first-come-first-served basis. For non-emergency concerns, most hospitals, especially in major cities such as Tokyo, operate as early as 6:30 or 7am. Japan also has a wide range of public health clinics that offer services such as check-up and counselling for drug and alcohol addiction. All of these pubic clinics also provide AIDS and sexually transmitted diseases testing. In case of medical need, expats can go to one of the hospitals listed below: 

54 Kawaharacho, Syogoin, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto City

Tel: 075(751)311  

6 Chome-7-1 Nishishinjuku, Tokyo

Tel: +81 3-3342-6111 

9-1 Akashicho, Chuo, Tokyo

Tel: +81 3-3541-5151 

540-0006 Osaka Prefecture, Osaka

Tel:  +81 6-6942-1331


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