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15 Expats Talk about Health Insurance and Healthcare in Japan

By Joshua Wood, LPC

Last updated on Feb 02, 2023

Summary: The quality of medical care in Japan is generally considered to be very high, with a strong emphasis on preventative care. Japan has a well-developed healthcare system, with a wide range of medical services available. In comparison to the US, Japan has a higher life expectancy and lower infant mortality rate. Emergency services in Japan are generally reliable and efficient. Ambulances can be called by dialing 119, and the operator will be able to provide assistance in English. Ambulances are usually equipped with the latest medical technology and staffed with highly trained medical personnel.

William Russell Health Insurance
William Russell Health Insurance
William Russell Health Insurance
William Russell Health Insurance

What advice do you have for expats having a baby in Japan?

We asked expat moms who gave birth in Japan about their experiences and advice they have for other moms to be. They said:

"Start by consulting with your doctor to learn about the medical system options available, such as national health insurance or private health insurance policies, and importance of registering the birth with local municipality offices. Research birthing options and find an OBGYN you can be comfortable with who is experienced in birth in Japan. Learn about maternity care options and gather information on the laws and regulations relevant to baby care in your area. Make sure to keep your passport documents and baby book up to date to help facilitate the process of obtaining a passport for your baby. Be sure to create a Japanese will and guardianship for your child, and consider opening a bank account and investing in a life insurance policy. Lastly, consider joining a parenting group or community forums to make connections and establish relationships with other expat parents," added another person living in Japan.

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Are healthcare services good in Japan?

We asked people if they have access to good medical care in Japan. They wrote:

"Healthcare services in Japan are of a high quality and the government runs a universal health care system that guarantees basic healthcare provision to all citizens and registered foreign residents. The system is funded by taking a significant portion of people’s wages and taxes. There are over 70,000 hospitals and other medical facilities throughout the country, most of which are owned by private companies. These medical institutions offer a wide range of services including specialist consultation, hospitalization, radiology and imaging, surgeries, and home care. In recent years there has been a growing focus on preventative care, with an increasing amount of medical institutions offering check-ups and health screenings. Japan also has a strong tradition of alternative medicine, such as acupuncture and traditional herbal remedies, which are widely practised in many parts of the country," said another person in Japan.

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About the Author

Joshua Wood Joshua Wood, LPC joined Expat Exchange in 2000 and serves as one of its Co-Presidents. He is also one of the Founders of Digital Nomad Exchange. Prior to Expat Exchange, Joshua worked for NBC Cable (MSNBC and CNBC Primetime). Joshua has a BA from Syracuse and a Master's in Clinical and Counseling Psychology from Fairleigh Dickinson University. Mr. Wood is also a licensed counselor and psychotherapist.

Some of Joshua's articles include Pros and Cons of Living in Portugal, 10 Best Places to Live in Ireland and Pros and Cons of Living in Uruguay. Connect with Joshua on LinkedIn.

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