What Can America Learn from Japan?

397 words | 2 page(s)

Japan today is an intentional creation, and the bulk of its systems are the result of the post-World War II reconstruction era. This is especially true of the Japanese health system, which has features that contribute to higher Japanese health achievement.

During Reconstruction, after World War II, America and a number of other countries helped to put Japan back together. Specifically, Japan saw its hospital system revamped. America helped to revolutionize the country’s medical education. On top of that, American authorities helped to re-constitute Japan’s disease control systems, which greatly influenced the success of Japan’s public health system.

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Politically speaking, Japan’s health system has a universal element, supported by the majority of politicians and people. The government pays 70% of the costs of healthcare, with individuals picking up 30% of the costs of their visits. From a legal perspective, there is a law that mandates that people get health insurance in the country, though the penalty for choosing not to do so has no teeth.

Japan has achieved better health results than many countries. One of the reasons for this has to do with the cultural habits of the Japanese people. Japan does not focus on foods heavy in fats, and fast food is not nearly as big a part of the culture there. On top of that, Japan’s health education has been better than in many countries, with the public having significant knowledge of potential problems that might bring about poor health results.

One of the things that another country could learn from Japan is how the hybrid payment system is an effective tool. Having the government pay a large portion of the medical costs in a single-payer model is something that has worked. Likewise, the Japanese focus on preventative care helps to keep its costs low, and other countries could learn from that approach, too.

  • Bezruchka, S., Namekata, T., & Sistrom, M. G. (2008). Interplay of politics and law to promote health: Improving economic equality and health: The case of postwar Japan.’American Journal of Public Health,’98(4), 589’594.’
  • Kawachi, I., Fujisawa, Y., & Takao, S. (2007). The health of Japanese’What can we learn from America?’Japanese National Institute of Public Health,’56(2), 114’121.
  • Okamoto, E. (2008).’Public health of Japan 2008. Tatara, K. (Ed.). Retrieved fromhttp://www.jpha.or.jp
  • World Health Organization Western Pacific Region. (2010).’Country health information profile: Japan. Retrieved from’http://www.wpro.who.int/countries/jpn/en/

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