Global Medicine: Japan

Posted by Simon R. Downes on

I practice clinical psychology in Japan and received my PhD in developmental psychology. I also hold a civil service certification for the County of LA in the Department of Mental Health, Clinical Psychologist 1, and I am currently a staff clinical psychologist at the University of Tsukuba (Tokyo). 

Japan’s universal health care system pays for 70% of the cost of preventive, curative and rehabilitative services. From my experience living and operating my practice in Tokyo, I have learned that health care is very accessible here.

Preventative care is highly valued, and each year the city sends out free general health check vouchers. In addition, people tend to visit local clinics for minor ailments more than in the U.S. One of the drawbacks is that waiting times in hospitals and clinics can be very long; In the Japanese countryside, there are fewer doctors, and so they are in high demand. 

Scholarships are offered for medical students who promise to do residencies in country hospitals. Because of low reimbursements, however, physicians in Japan see a high volume of patients per day. It means less time with patients, which can change the dynamic of the patient and physician relationship, as well as limit the time patients can ask questions or gain other information about their health and wellness care.


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