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Is medicine free in Japan?

1. Introduction

Medicine is an essential part of our lives, and it is important to understand the cost and availability of medical care in any given country. In Japan, there are a variety of options for accessing medical care and medicine, including free medicine. In this article, we will explore whether or not medicine is free in Japan, what types of health insurance are available, how to access free medicine in Japan, and the pros and cons of this system.

2. Overview of Healthcare in Japan

The Japanese healthcare system is known for its high quality and efficiency. It is a universal healthcare system that provides coverage for all citizens regardless of income or employment status. The government funds the majority of healthcare costs through taxation and social security contributions from employers and employees. The Japanese government also regulates the cost of medical treatments to ensure that they remain affordable for everyone.

Japanese Snack Box

3. Cost of Medical Care in Japan

The cost of medical care in Japan varies depending on the type of treatment you receive. Generally speaking, most treatments are covered by national health insurance plans with co-payments ranging from 10-30%. For those without health insurance, medical costs can be quite expensive as they must pay full price for any treatments they receive.

4. Types of Health Insurance in Japan

There are two main types of health insurance available in Japan: public health insurance (Kokumin Kenko Hoken) and private health insurance (Shakai Hoken). Public health insurance is available to all citizens, regardless of income or employment status, while private health insurance may only be available to those who are employed by certain companies or organizations. Both types offer coverage for a variety of medical treatments including hospital visits, prescription drugs, surgery, physical therapy and other services.

5. Free Medicine in Japan

Free medicine is available through both public and private health insurance plans in Japan. All insured individuals are eligible for free medicines at designated hospitals or pharmacies if their physician prescribes them certain medications that meet certain criteria set by the government such as being prescribed by a doctor or being approved by the Ministry of Health Labour & Welfare (MHLW). These criteria must be met before an individual can access free medicines under their plan’s coverage terms & conditions; otherwise they will have to pay out-of-pocket costs for their medications instead.

6 How to Access Free Medicine in Japan

In order to access free medicines through either public or private health insurance plans in Japan, individuals must first obtain a prescription from their doctor or specialist that meets MHLW’s criteria for eligibility (this information can usually be found on your insurer’s website). Once this has been done, individuals can then take their prescription to one of the designated hospitals or pharmacies where they will be able to get their medication at no additional cost (other than any co-payments that may apply).

7 Pros and Cons of Free Medicine in Japan

The availability of free medicine through public & private healthcare plans has both advantages & disadvantages depending on an individual’s situation:


• Accessibility – Individuals with either public or private health insurance can easily access free medicines when needed without having to worry about out-of-pocket costs;

• Cost Savings – Since these medications are provided at no additional cost beyond any applicable co-payments; individuals can save money on their overall healthcare expenses;

• Quality – All medications provided through public & private healthcare plans must meet MHLW’s standards for quality assurance; ensuring that individuals receive safe & effective treatments when needed;


• Limited Availability – Not all medications are eligible for coverage under either public or private healthcare plans; meaning some individuals may still need to pay out-of-pocket costs even if they have one type of plan over another;

• Restrictions – Certain restrictions may apply when accessing free medicines such as age limits or quantity limits which could limit an individual’s ability to get all the medication they need;

• Co-Payments – Depending on an individual’s situation there may still be co-payments associated with accessing free medicines which could add up over time if multiple prescriptions are needed throughout the year;

8 Conclusion

In conclusion, while there is no such thing as completely “free” medicine in Japan due to potential co-payments associated with accessing it under either public or private healthcare plans; there are still many advantages associated with taking advantage of this option when available such as convenience & cost savings over paying out-of pocket expenses every time you need medication prescribed by your doctor/specialist.Ultimately it comes down to understanding what type(s) of coverage you have so you can make informed decisions about your own personal circumstances when it comes time to fill prescriptions each year!

9 Sources


Do you pay for medicine in Japan?

Japans health care system is comprehensive. At least 70 percent of the cost should be covered whether youre paying for a doctors appointment hospital surgery or prescription medication from a pharmacy. This percentage only varies with age.

How much does medical cost in Japan?

First visit fee If you have Japanese health insurance you should bring 5000 to 10000 yen for your first visit to the clinic and 10000 to 15000 yen for your first visit to the hospital.

How do Japanese pay for healthcare?

Japans public health system is known as SHI or Social Health Insurance. SHI applies to all people working full-time in medium or large companies. About 5 percent is deducted from the salary to pay SHI and the employer adjusts this fee.

Do you have to pay to go to the hospital in Japan?

Almost all hospitals in Japan can be accessed by patients without a doctors referral. But hospitals are allowed to charge more patients without referrals. These fees range from 2000 to 5000 yen. Most hospitals accept JHI and charge a percentage of the total patient bill.

Can you buy Tylenol in Japan?

Although Tylenol itself is a bit harder to find than ibuprofen in Japan (you cant find it in our local drug store but you can find it in the pharmacy at the train station near our area). You can also find them very easily online.

Why is healthcare so cheap in Japan?

They receive government subsidies to pay for any equipment such as wheelchairs or hearing aids. Health care in Japan focuses on the poor by providing comprehensive and accessible medical services to the underprivileged. Health care in Japan is very reasonable.

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