treatment in Japan
medical system here is more complex than other countries with training,
certification and licensing standards varying from hospital to hospital.
Most Japanese people are insured through National Health Insurance or
through their companies. Waiting lists for NHI beds are long. The patient's
family or relatives are expected to help do a lot of the things that
in the West would be taken care of by hospital staff.
At medical clinics, those without appointments can expect to wait up
to 3 hours. Consultation time is short and medication prescribed by
the doctor is given to the patient at the reception desk of the clinic.
If hospitalization is necessary, the doctor will refer the patient to
a hospital with which he has connections, and another doctor will take
over the case.
There is no 'family doctor' system really, though some Western-trained
doctors have a private practice and will act as a family physician.
National and university hospitals are acknowledged to be the best, though
for less serious ailments most people use a clinic in their neighborhood.
The best thing to do is to register with one of the doctors who serve
the foreign community and make sure you can contact him in case of emergency.
Always carry a medical card in both Japanese and English.
If you need an ambulance in an emergency, dial 119. One should arrive
in about ten minutes. Note that ambulances have facilities for only
basic first aid.
We listed hospitals and clinics which have English speaking staff and
Catholic Hospital (Seibo Byoin)
Luke's International Hospital
(Sei Ruka Byoin)
Medical & Surgical Clinic
Metropolitan Hiroo Hospital
make an appointment)
Plaza Hotel, Shinjuku
Central Clinic & Hospital for Women
Maternity Clinic & Hospital
||Nishi Azabu, Minato-ku
a clinic, the waiting list may be 7-10 days. For a full health check,
a large hospital will have a waiting list of up to 2 months, depending
on the hospital.
can get a free medical check up at your nearest public health center.
These centers also offer medical certificates which may be necessary
for school enrollment and employment. Some centers offer English services.
are carried out by most Health Promotion Departments of public health
centers. Contact your nearest center.
pregnancy, go to your ward office to get your mother and child handbook,
useful in case of emergencies. Forms are in English. Within 14 days
of birth, one of the parents must go to the ward office with the report
of birth from the hospital, both parents' passports, and the alien registration
card of the parent present to apply for a birth certificate. No fee.
You will also have to register your baby's birth with your embassy.
Consult the relevant embassy for more details.
If you want to take your baby out of the country for a period of time,
then a re-entry permit is needed for the baby.
Fee: 3,000 yen
Document: parents' alien registration cards, baby's passport and birth
staying in Tokyo for a one year period or longer will be required to
join one of the three health insurance programs (except those receiving
public welfare benefit). The three types are National Health Insurance,
employee insurance and private insurance. National Health Insurance
is for those who are not covered by any insurance (includes those who
are self-employed). Employee health insurance is for all those employed
full time. When you sign up for National Health Insurance at your ward
office, you will receive a certificate which must be shown at medical
institutions so that most of your costs will be covered. You will receive
a bill quarterly and the amount will depend on your earnings for last
& Western Medicine
Asian, or Oriental medicine, dates back thousands of years. There are
no surgical, internal or ophthalmology divisions in Oriental medicine,
just one complete system to treat the whole body. Despite the growth
of modern, Western medicine in Japan, there is a large number of clinics
specializing in Oriental therapy; hari (acupuncture), okyu, shiatsu
(massage) and Chinese herbal medicine. Since it is holistic therapy,
the purpose is not to relieve individual symptoms locally with drugs
that may harm the rest of the body, but to correct the balance of the
whole body's energy, ''ki'', so that healing comes about naturally.
Modern medicine has no unified system for treating the whole body.
Acupuncture often cures or alleviates the ailments that Western medicine
cannot: high or low blood pressure, neuralgia, diabetes, migraine, rheumatism,
stress, viral diseases and allergies. Many healthy people use it to
maintain good health and also as a way of relaxing. Hair-like needles
are applied to certain points on the body, treatment is painless and
counseling is an important part of the therapy. Okyu and shiatsu work
on similar principles.
These alternatives to hospitals and surgery are gaining a wider audience
worldwide. Being in Tokyo gives you an opportunity to try it and see
It is best to attend an acupuncturist recommended by someone that you
know well, as there are some therapists whose skills are not up to standard.
many pharmacies in Tokyo sell foreign pharmaceutical products, there
is a good chance you will be able to find what you were used to using
in your home country.
Koyasu Bldg., 7-14-7 Roppongi
Garden Plaza, 4-1-29 Minami Azabu
Azabu Supermarket Pharmacy
Medical Dispensary 32
Bldg. 3-4-30 Shibakoen
Drug Store Capitol Tokyu Hotel
Bldg. 2F, 1-7-2 Jingumae
Other stores in nine major hotels.