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Medical Treatment in Japan For Foreign Residents and Tourists
Medical treatment is an essential thing to have in a living. The standard of medical treatment in Japan is extremely high and in the latest technology that makes Japanese well-known with its longest life expectancy in the world.
Japan has excellent medical treatment as well as well-staffed hospitals and clinics. Hospital or clinic in Japan is mostly crowded and using reservation system or first-come, first-serve system.
In Japan, foreign residents have the same medical service and treatment as Japanese have. Medical treatment in Japan, as they do it with the most up-to-date treatment skills and equipment, has a high price that may lead you to trouble in providing enough financial if you don’t have a valid Japanese insurance card. You will get the card when you are working in a company, or registered in your spouse’s or family member’s company (as your supporter, mostly happen to housewives and kids).
As far as you have a valid Japanese insurance card, you will only pay 30% of all medical costs incurred. For most treatments, you may like to pay around 500~3,000 yen per time of treatment. However, there are some treatments that are not included in the health insurance service, which you have to pay in full amounts, such as pregnancy check-ups or infertility treatment (as it is not considered as a disease), some cavity treatments, medical examination, vaccination, etc. For reference, a vaccination may cost you around 10,000 yen.
However, as a foreign resident, the language barrier is one of a problem we faced when visiting a hospital or clinic, even for those who speak Japanese. You may speak in the language, but it might be difficult when comes to specialized word and terminology, especially related to medical terms as some are not commonly used in daily life.
If we can’t tell the doctor in detail about the symptoms, how do we feel the pain, etc, it is difficult for to doctor to examine the disease correctly.
Japan is a dream travel destination for everyone! From magnificent scenery to beautiful cities and cultures attract tourists from all over the world to come to Japan at least once in his/her life. However, as you will visit another country, it is way better to prepare as best you can. Who knows if you will get sick or do something wrong during your trip?
Of course, then you will visit a hospital in Japan. But then, mostly language and insurance problems come up during the treatment.
Recently, unpaid medical treatment came up in Japanese news. This happened because most tourists that come to the hospital, do not have international insurance (which is optional when purchasing a flight!) and can’t pay. Or even though you can pay, you will be burdened with very high costs. That’s why recently, most hospitals and clinics strengthen their system in receive a patient by asking for their international insurance in the first place in the reception.
What We Can Do
For Traveler, Make Sure You Have Your International Health Insurance!
International insurance is optional when booking a flight. It costs up to your flight fee a bit but it is way more reasonable rather than pay all amount for medical treatment, especially we don’t know what will happen to us. Give plus a bit and feel relief during your travel!
Look for Reference
For those who speak Japanese, it is better to look for symptoms you feel through the internet in Japanese for reference. So that you can find useful words to describe your condition when visiting a doctor. Each pain you feel may refer to a different analysis, especially as the Japanese language has a lot of onomatope in describing pain, know which pain you feel is one of the ways, for example, does it feel chiku-chiku, or maybe hiri-hiri?
Looking for International Hospital or Hospital with English Service
Especially if you are unable to speak Japanese, looking for an international hospital or hospital with English service is important. Mostly available in big cities nowadays, so still not available everywhere. It is better to prepare yourself to search for the closest international hospital or hospital with English service from your home, so if something happens, you can directly and quickly go there.
Some International and English-speaking hospitals here.
Use Yubisashi Sheet
Ryomo Muslim Inbound Development Council based in Sano city, Tochigi Prefecture, made a medical guide called “Muslim Hospital Yubisashi” in four languages (English, Bahasa Indonesia, Bahasa Malaysia, Urdu). Very easy to understand and convenient to bring along.
Download Medical Application
Translation in medical terms needs to be accurate as it is related to someone’s life.
Recently, there are some mobile applications that are able to support medical translating like MEDIPHONE (App Store and Google Play). You may look for other applications that meets your style and needs.
Recommend to download the medical translation application beforehand.
Approaches of Japanese Hospitals For a Better Medical Service for Foreigners
Due to the increase of foreign residents and tourists, Japan is now preparing for a better service in medical treatment for foreigners by executing some approaches, from preparing the translation tablet in the hospital to support smooth communication in two languages, place medical interpreters in the hospital to support direct communication between doctor and patient during treatment, having English-speaker staffs in the hospital, etc.