Japanese Healthcare and Medicine

Studying the peculiarities of healthcare systems in different countries makes it possible to compare domestic and foreign approaches to the organization of the medical sector and draw conclusions regarding possible experience sharing. In addition, such an analysis contributes to a better understanding of the capabilities of this area and its role in residents’ lives. In order to conduct such an evaluation, the Japanese healthcare system will be considered with its key nuances, major issues, and the engaged international organization. As valuable justifications, relevant statistical and numerical data will be provided. Japan’s medical industry is sufficiently advanced, and care for people is manifested in the longevity of the population and citizens’ satisfaction with the level of providers’ preparedness.

Status of the Japanese Healthcare System

The medical sector in Japan is not distinguished by its unusual approaches and structure. According to the available information, local healthcare is universal and requires comprehensive insurance (TransferWise, 2017). Since this principle is mandatory, all citizens of the country, without exception, have health insurance. Access to services is not free, but in general, prices are not too high because the Japanese only pay 30% for medical bills (TransferWise, 2017, para. 6). Approximately 5% of wages are withheld for insurance premiums (TransferWise, 2017, para. 2). The emergency system is developed well, and patient transportation is free, although care is paid. A characteristic difference from many other countries is the lack of general practitioners, and a large number of employees of various specialties work in local clinics. In general, the Japanese healthcare system is advanced, and the highest life expectancy in the world confirms this fact.

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Major Healthcare Issues

Despite the highest life expectancy in the world and sufficiently advanced medicine in Japan, some healthcare issues occur. For instance, Kadooka, Asai, Enzo, and Okita (2017) note the improper distribution of physicians, which, in turn, is fraught with complicated access to services. The authors also note that the level of emergency patient deliveries is high due to people’s fatigue and frequent stress at work (Kadooka et al., 2017). Residents’ diligence and responsibility are those factors that affect their health adversely and complicate medical providers’ activities. Therefore, socio-ethical issues are prevailing among all the problems in the Japanese healthcare system.

Participation of the International Organization

The World Health Organization (WHO) is the main international agency controlling the healthcare system in Japan. According to the official reports, the country’s rapid economic growth in the second half of the 20th century allowed the local government to maintain this industry at a consistently high level (Sakamoto et al., 2018). Health expenditures are increasing gradually, and the position of the world’s third economy contributes to this (Sakamoto et al., 2018). The WHO evaluates the development of Japanese medicine positively and engages all possible resources in order to encourage the adoption of local providers’ experience in different countries.


High life expectancy and medical employees’ preparedness are those criteria that emphasize the success of the Japanese healthcare system and prove its high status. Some challenges and problems may occur, for instance, a high level of stress and an unreasonable distribution of physicians, but these nuances relate to socio-ethical rather than professional aspects. The WHO, as the main supervising international organization, confirms the effectiveness of the Japanese medical sphere, which is largely achieved due to sufficient investments in this sector.


Kadooka, Y., Asai, A., Enzo, A., & Okita, T. (2017). Misuse of emergent healthcare in contemporary Japan. BMC Emergency Medicine, 17(1), 23. Web.

Sakamoto, H., Rahman, M., Nomura, S., Okamoto, E., Koike, S., Yasunaga, H., … Ghaznavi, C. (2018). Japan health system review. Health Systems in Transition, 8(1). Web.

TransferWise. (2017). Healthcare in Japan: A guide to the Japanese healthcare system. TransferWise. Web.

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