Generally speaking, the healthcare in Japan is not only provided free for every Japanese citizen, but also for expatriates and foreigners.
General health issues
Japan offers a wide variety of options when you need medical help. Although there are numerous public and private hospitals as well as clinics, the Japanese have no ‘family-doctor’ system. Most foreign people have less than positive impressions of Japanese medical practitioners. Generally speaking, medical ethics and bedside manners are not taught in Japan.
Although Japan is an industrialized country, it is notable to see that few Japanese practice medicine. One of the reasons may be the fact that studying medicine in Japan can be very expensive. In spite of this, Japan still has excellent hospitals and clinics, and being the world’s leading country in technology, provides highly-technical, state of the art equipment.
Healthcare in Japan
The Japanese healthcare system provides free screening examinations for certain diseases, infectious disease control and prenatal care. This healthcare is provided by both the local and the national governments. Payments for personal medical services are offered through an insurance system called universal healthcare. This system provides equality of access, along with fees that are set by a particular government committee.
As the number of expatriates within Japan grows, the government has increased its efforts to provide quality healthcare for them. This includes staffing hospitals with English-speaking medical professionals. A large number of specialists and surgeons in Japan obtained their qualifications from western countries like the USA and the UK.
As with other Asian countries, Japan has had problems with medical practitioners who over-prescribe. Although this is normally only associated with minor ailments like coughs, fevers, or colds, it is still quite disturbing. These concerns have alarmed the Japanese government and they in-turn have taken action to eradicate the practice. Although incidents have been greatly reduced, there are still some that continue this illegal act.
Japan has a structure of universal health coverage. How it applies to the individual will generally depend on different factors. These include whether you are visiting, working, or studying; your age, and other important factors. Medical insurance is divided into broader categories: the Employees’ Health Insurance and the National Health Insurance, which is a community-based system. Membership in either of the schemes is a must. The monthly premiums are calculated differently but are generally based on salaries. Additionally, the coverage for medical costs varies with each scheme.
The Employees’ Health Insurance. This is subdivided into different categories but generally applies to people who are working in private schools, in the national and the local government, and in medium or large companies. Employers provide health insurance certificates to their employees. The premiums are based on the monthly salary of the insured person.
National Health Insurance in Japan. Anyone who is staying in Japan for more than a year and is not covered by Employees’ Health Insurance is obliged to apply for National Health Insurance. This will require you to produce your Alien Registration Card. You are also required to do the same if you will be joining an employees’ insurance scheme, going back to the country of your birth, moving to another town or city, or when you are changing your name or address.