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Japan – Healthcare

The cost of living in Japan can be high, however the health care system is very reasonable.

Most clinics and hospitals are part of the Japanese Health Insurance system and charge only 30 percent of the total fee to patients. This is because Japan uses a universal health care system for payment. Most employees are covered by health insurance for which the premiums are deducted from their monthly salary.

Those who cannot be covered by social health insurance, may enroll in the National health insurance program also run by the government.

Japanese citizens are automatically enrolled in the national health insurance system, and non-Japanese long term residents are also required to have Japanese health insurance.

One of the advantages of Japan’s health care system is people have free access to any clinic or hospital anytime. Patients do not have to go through general practitioners first.

Because most clinics and hospitals do not require appointments, patients are free to visit any clinic when they have health problems.

Most hospitals are accessible without a doctor’s referral. However, large hospitals which have more than 200 beds may charge an extra fee (2000JPY-5000JPY) to patients who have no referral.

Though many doctors in the metropolitan area speak fluent English, some expats may be worried that errors could lead to incorrect diagnoses and inappropriate treatment.

There are a few companies/organizations that provide medical translation services for individuals, but most of the remote translation service providers only provide assistance to hospitals, clinics, doctors, companies, and government related organizations.

AMDA International Medical Information Center

Towarow: Medi-way (remote medical translation service)

  • Languages: English, Chinese, Portuguese and Spanish
  • Initial fee: JPY 30,000 (one time for registration)
  • Monthly fee: JPY 10,000 (They rent out an iPad)
  • Service fee: JPY 1,500 / 10 minutes

JIGH (Japan Institute for Global Health): Medi-phone (remote medical translation service)

  • Languages: English, Chinese, and Korean
  • Fee details will not be disclosed unless you go through an interview and inform them about the expectations of how many patients and how often, etc.
  • Their system is more or less the same as Towarow. (Initial fee plus monthly fee style)