There are medical insurance systems that are available to employees, self-employed individuals, students and others. These insurance systems cover your medical, dental, prescription and vision expenses. Expenses for medical care during pregnancy and for normal delivery are not covered by insurance; however, medical costs for abnormal deliveries (e.g., caesarean section) and other pregnancy complications (e.g., premature labor) are covered. The government does provide benefits to those on maternity leave. The two major health insurance systems in Japan are called Health Insurance and National Health Insurance.
Health Insurance is available for employees and their family. The cost of insurance coverage is shared by the employee, employer and government. All insured employees and their family will pay only one-third of their medical costs.
The employer is responsible for all mandatory health insurance procedures. All businesses with more than 5 employees, excluding part-time and contractual staff, must have health insurance. Small businesses that have 5 employees or less can apply for health insurance with the agreement of more than half of the staff members. This request must be government approved.
Insurance premiums are calculated based on the employee's salary and payments are shared equally between the employee and the employer. For more details, contact your local social security office.
National Health Insurance
National Health Insurance is available for individuals who do not have health insurance coverage through their employer. It is required for all self-employed individuals, resident aliens and their families who are residing in Japan for more than one year.
Insurance premiums are based on the number of family members and the previous year's annual income and it varies among each city, town or village. Installment payments are accepted. If you have dependent family members, it is possible to apply as a whole family. For more details, contact your local social security office.
Medical Aid System for Foreign Students
Foreign students who have joined the Independent Administrative Agency & Student Support Association of Japan may qualify for financial support for their medical expenses. All qualifying students will pay only a small percentage of their total medical expenses. For more details, contact the college where you are enrolled.
Visit a Doctor
There are walk in clinics, practice medicine, pediatrics, ear nose throat, obstetrics and gynecology, urology, orthopedic surgery, ophthalmology and dentist, etc. Whether you plan to visit a doctor at the hospital or medical clinic, it is recommended to call first to make an appointment. Doctors at medical clinics will refer you to a medical specialist if necessary. Your local Medical Information Center provides information about clinics and emergency rooms in your area. They may also refer you to available English-speaking doctors in your area.
At the clinic, provide your health insurance certificate to the receptionist, give your name and reason for the visit. If this is your first visit to the clinic, you will only need to provide the patient registration card that was first issued to you.
Please note that if there is a period of at least one month since your last visit, you will need to provide your health insurance certificate again.
After your medical examination or treatment, pay all applicable fees to the cashier. If necessary, make an appointment for your next visit.
Prescriptions can be filled at a hospital's in-house pharmacy or at an outside pharmacy.
To call for an ambulance, dial 119. On public pay telephones, press, the red emergency button and then dial 119. Make sure to communicate clearly when speaking to the emergency operator: provide the correct name and address. If necessary, spell names out to avoid any misunderstanding. Provide your age, a description of the situation and the state of the wounded individual.
AIDS Consultation and Test
Free public HIV antibody detection is available at most government health clinics. These tests are completely anonymous. Consultation is also available. Please contact clinics for details.
Your local public health center provides various information and services for expectant mothers and babies. Here, you will be able to pick up your copy of the Mother and Child Health Handbook. This handbook is available in several languages (English, Chinese, Korean, Portuguese, Spanish, Indonesian, Thai and Tagalog) and is used to keep health records for both mother and child through pregnancy and after childbirth. There is also helpful health and parenting information included in this handbook to prepare you for a comfortable experience.
- The public health center provides the following medical services.
- The Mother and Child Health Handbook
- Medical examinations for mother and baby
- Pregnancy classes
- Counseling before and after delivery
- Infant health check-up
- Visiting a Health Counselor
Notify your local government office within 14 days of the birth of your child. Documents required are your Mother and Child Health Handbook, certification from the doctor or midwife, alien registration card, Hanko (seal/Signature) and health insurance certificate. You are also required to notify to the Embassy or Consulate of your home country.
Alien registration must be completed within 60 days from the date of birth of your child.
Lump Sum Childbirth Allowance
Parent(s) who have health insurance will receive a lump sum of ¥ 300,000 after childbirth. The same amount applies in the case of stillbirth or miscarriage after 4 months.
The National Health Insurance also has a similar lump sum allowance.
Infant Medical Checkups
Newborns will receive medical expense benefits for fees other than health insurance premiums. Fees for hospital visits are covered until the child's fourth birthday and hospital admission fees are covered until the child enrolls in elementary school.
You can receive these benefits with a health insurance certificate and your infant's medical certificate at the health clinic. You can apply for your infant's medical certificate at your local government office and are required to provide your health insurance certificate, Hanko (seal/Signature), alien registration card and your Mother and Child Health Handbook.
Immunization against polio, BCG (Bacilli Calmette Guerin), DTP (Diphtheria, Tetanus, Pertussis), Measles, German measles and Japanese Encephalitis are available at your local public health center or public school. Coupons for free vaccinations are available in your Mother and Child Health Handbook
You will receive information about vaccination for Japanese Encephalitis, Diphtheria and 2nd Tetanus through your child's daytime nursery, kindergarten, elementary and middle school as they are needed.