Health care in Japan - statistics & facts

Japan has one of the healthiest populations with one of the highest life expectancies both for women and men worldwide. It has one of the lowest infant mortalities, as well as maternal mortalities. The three major causes of death in Japan are age-related illnesses such as malignant neoplasms, heart diseases, and cerebrovascular diseases. However, the mortality rate from heart diseases is the lowest among OECD countries, at about 31 deaths per 100,000 population.

Health care system

A variety of factors determine the population’s health, such as general exposure to health risks, living habits, health education, as well as access to health care. Every Japanese citizen is eligible for medical treatment through universal health care with a coverage of nearly 100 percent and medical costs are strictly regulated by the government. A minimum of 70 percent of healthcare costs are covered by health insurance provided by the government or an employer. The remaining 10 to 30 percent are typically paid by the patient, depending on the financial status of the individual. People are free to choose to be treated by any private or public medical institutions, which total approximately 179 thousand facilities. Hospitals are required by law to run as non-profit and must be both owned and operated by physicians. Health administrations of the prefectures and large municipalities are divided into several districts and each district owns a public health center (hoken-jo). Public health centers plan, supervise, and evaluate health programs in their responsible area.

Prevention of diseases

Companies in Japan must provide periodical medical checks at least once a year to their employees. During 2018, over 13.6 million employees in the country underwent general health examinations such as tests for eyesight, hearing, hepatic function, and blood lipid level. Public health centers also offer free health examinations for people aged 35 years and older. Additionally, all educational institutions up to tertiary schools conduct annual general health checkups including dental health, appendicular health, tuberculosis, among others. The Ministry of Health strongly suggests taking vaccination for “A type diseases” such as diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus, polio, hepatitis B, Hib, tuberculosis, and pediatric pneumococcus starting from the second month from the birth. As of 2018, about 99 percent of children in Japan were vaccinated against diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis. In December 2020, the government amended the Immunization Act, originally enacted in 1948, following the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in the country. According to the amendment, the government will cover all expenses for the vaccination against COVID-19 and compensation of illnesses connected to side-effects of the vaccination.

Key figures

The most important key figures provide you with a compact summary of the topic of "Health care in Japan" and take you straight to the corresponding statistics.

State of health

Health professionals

Economic conditions of medical facilities

Interesting statistics

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Health care in Japan

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Health care in Japan - statistics & facts

Japan has one of the healthiest populations with one of the highest life expectancies both for women and men worldwide. It has one of the lowest infant mortalities, as well as maternal mortalities. The three major causes of death in Japan are age-related illnesses such as malignant neoplasms, heart diseases, and cerebrovascular diseases. However, the mortality rate from heart diseases is the lowest among OECD countries, at about 31 deaths per 100,000 population.

Health care system

A variety of factors determine the population’s health, such as general exposure to health risks, living habits, health education, as well as access to health care. Every Japanese citizen is eligible for medical treatment through universal health care with a coverage of nearly 100 percent and medical costs are strictly regulated by the government. A minimum of 70 percent of healthcare costs are covered by health insurance provided by the government or an employer. The remaining 10 to 30 percent are typically paid by the patient, depending on the financial status of the individual. People are free to choose to be treated by any private or public medical institutions, which total approximately 179 thousand facilities. Hospitals are required by law to run as non-profit and must be both owned and operated by physicians. Health administrations of the prefectures and large municipalities are divided into several districts and each district owns a public health center (hoken-jo). Public health centers plan, supervise, and evaluate health programs in their responsible area.

Prevention of diseases

Companies in Japan must provide periodical medical checks at least once a year to their employees. During 2018, over 13.6 million employees in the country underwent general health examinations such as tests for eyesight, hearing, hepatic function, and blood lipid level. Public health centers also offer free health examinations for people aged 35 years and older. Additionally, all educational institutions up to tertiary schools conduct annual general health checkups including dental health, appendicular health, tuberculosis, among others. The Ministry of Health strongly suggests taking vaccination for “A type diseases” such as diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus, polio, hepatitis B, Hib, tuberculosis, and pediatric pneumococcus starting from the second month from the birth. As of 2018, about 99 percent of children in Japan were vaccinated against diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis. In December 2020, the government amended the Immunization Act, originally enacted in 1948, following the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in the country. According to the amendment, the government will cover all expenses for the vaccination against COVID-19 and compensation of illnesses connected to side-effects of the vaccination.

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