Healthcare and Hospitals in Japan

Have you ever wondered what hospitals in Japan are like? How does the Japanese health care system work? In this article, we will talk briefly about the incredible Japanese public hospitals and how Japan's healthcare system works.

Unlike Brazil, public hospitals in Japan are not free, and are more difficult to find than private clinics and hospitals. Even though Japan's healthcare system is not free, it has a great advantage because it is efficient and fast.

Japan's Health System

In Japan health care is expensive, it is not like in Brazil where there is SUS and free services. Not that this is a problem, instead of paying taxes to cover a precarious system, Japan kind of forces all Japanese people to pay for health insurance.

This health insurance is known as kokumin kenkou hoken [国民健康保険] and covers about 70% of all medical expenses of any amount, and still offers the chance of being reimbursed for high expenses in a hospital.

Exactly, the insurance covers only 70%. In addition to paying monthly taxes to the public health system, Japanese citizens pay 30% of their medical bills, which are strictly regulated by the state, so that they never become inaccessible.

There is also insurance that keeps medical costs from over 80,100 yen a month. If the person has any injury or illness, and is unable to work and receive the salary, he receives 60% of the lost salary for up to 1 ½ years.

Japanese hospitals: important and useful information

Types of Health Insurance in Japan

Generally, health insurance is charged per family, covering any medical treatment except aesthetic treatments or some dental treatments such as braces. If not, you need to apply at your local city office.

There is not only health insurance in Japan, people can choose different types of health insurance. International visitors who do not have the health system, however, need to resort to private networks that complement public coverage.

Social Health Insurance (SHI) - Insurance for people working in companies. Both you and your employer contribute equally to SHI, each paying about 5% of your salary.

National Health Insurance (NHI) - Aimed at students, freelancers, people working for small businesses. Your contribution is based on your annual income and can cost slightly more than what SHI would cost.

Nursing Insurance - If you are between 40 and 65 years old, 1,65% of your earnings goes to nursing insurance.

Private health insurance - How Japan's public health insurance covers cats for just about anything. Private health insurance is rare, but there are some that cover the 30% of the medical expenses you need to pay.

We recommend reading about the Shakai Hoken, a social insurance that includes health insurance, retirement, accidents and even funeral insurance. The insurance also pays for other hospital needs, such as orthopedic and physiotherapy products.

Hospitals in japan

Medical problems in Japan

No health system is perfect. Some doctors order tests unnecessary, and extend hospital stays in order to receive more money. Other doctors ignore complexities and specializations and ignore the patient's word.

Japanese doctors love to prescribe medication or recommend unnecessary returns.

This results in Japan's healthcare system with many medical errors. To try to remedy the situation, a way of changing the system of training doctors in Japan is being studied, mainly the absence of practical classes in the courses.

If you are making an appointment and did not like the doctor's diagnosis, you can seek the opinion of other doctors. It is highly recommended, always carry your card, money left over and an interpreter's phone if you need to.

This is another problem, many hospitals do not accept cards and only accept cash, but you can use some alternatives if you do not have money at the moment and are in the hospital for emergency reasons. Some have ATM machines.

Although hospital costs are considered cheap in Japan, many Brazilians and tourists disagree with this point. Even covering 30% of expenses, a consultation can cost up to 10,000 yen.

Despite intense criticism of the Japanese health care system, research shows that it is at levels above the American health care system with lower spending, lower prices, lower mortality and better care.

Healthcare and hospitals in japan

How are Hospitals in Japan?

It is estimated that there are more than 8,500 hospitals in Japan. If you need any medication, there are over 53,000 pharmacies across Japan. Some hospitals require reservations, others make a reservation when they arrive at the location.

There is no system of general practitioners in Japan. Instead, people go straight to a specialist, operating in a clinic. There are many different specialists available, so it is worth doing your research.

Patients are free to choose which hospitals and doctors they want to go to, and cannot be denied coverage. Hospitals, by law, must be run as non-profit companies. Profit-making organizations are prohibited from operating hospitals.

Hospitals in Japan tend to have the best facilities and equipment, and you are quickly attended to, even large and full hospitals you have the option of reserving your time on time.

Some offer stores, newsagents, kobini, vending machines, post office and many other utilities. A Hospital in Japan is like an advanced shopping mall. The video below will give you an insight into what a public hospital in Japan looks like.

If you are a foreigner in Japan and are looking for a recommended hospital for you, we recommend viewing a list on this site. 

Healthcare and hospitals in japan

Health in Brazil x Health in Japan

Many Brazilians living in Japan question the country's health system and miss SUS. I know some people who had to return to Brazil to do a certain treatment for a lower price, but the opposite also happens.

Many detonate SUS and its low quality, delay and lack of treatments. For some, having SUS is the same as having nothing. Despite this, as it is a free service, we cannot complain about SUS.

Many things can be easily and quickly resolved in public hospitals in Brazil. A simple consultation or internment in Japan can suck up a large part of your salary, even with the 70% paid by the government.

The great sadness is the simple fact that the taxes we pay to support the public health network, are used incorrectly and stolen by the corrupt government. Brazilian taxes are also expensive compared to wages and living costs.

In Japan, although a large percentage of our monthly salary is used for health insurance and other taxes, the earnings provide a much higher cost and lifestyle than Brazil. That's why we don't complain about paying for health in Japan.

There are complaints about medical errors and problems in hospitals in both Japan and Brazil. Bad professionals exist anywhere, whether public or private. So I advise you not to criticize public health in Japan or Brazil.

Healthcare and hospitals in japan

Medical vocabulary in Japanese

In addition, we will leave a list of important words in case you need to go to a doctor. You will also find other words in our article on dentistry, disease and pharmacies.

Responsive Table: Roll the table sideways with your finger >>
Medical termKanjiRomaji
heart attack狭心症kyoushinshou
medical bill医療費iryouhi
broken bone壊れた骨kowareta hone

Videos of Hospitals in Japan

To end the article, we will leave some videos of Caipira in Japan and You in Japan that show a little of Japanese public hospitals and their great charm and quality. I hope you enjoyed the article, thanks for the comments.

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