Japan Nurse

What should you do about Health Insurance in Japan?

Japan Nurse: health insurance in Japan. What kind of health insurance do you need here, is a frequent question of English teachers who are new to Japan

(Pictured: a beautiful Japanese mask)

What kind of health insurance do you need here?

Most expat English teachers living in Japan opt for Komin Kenko Hoken. This is health insurance organized through your district or ward--the area you live in, in Japan.

It is a cheaper option and doesn`t require you to participate in the Japanese pension plan. The price of it goes up as your earnings increase. Usually the first year is very cheap. It can be quite a bit more expensive in the second and third years of your time in Japan.

Private Medical Insurance

Some foreigners living in Japan swear by their private insurance company. They only go to fluent English speaking doctors and hospitals providing the same, and they are happy with their insurance.

At times I wish I had such insurance, especially when I go to some English speaking doctors in Tokyo that do not accept Japanese National Health Insurance.

Shakai Hoken

Some teachers swear (not too profanely) that this is the best option for foreign teachers in Japan. I opted for Kokumin Kenko Hoken as I didn`t want to contribute to the Japanese pension fund. I felt one day I would retire to Canada or somewhere else, and I wanted to invest my money myself.

*I feel government pension funds are usually not the best investment, and the pension fiasco in Japan where millions of yen have been lost and unaccounted for, not to mention the lack of records concerning who has contributed and who has not, has been a great embarrassment to the government, and has reinforced my earlier opinion, that I did the right thing by not contributing and investing the money myself.

All of the above arguments however will become moot points as the law will change in 2010. My understanding is that all schools will be required to enroll their fulltime employees in the Shakai Hoken Insurance Plan.

Then some in Japan feel that Shakai Hoken is the best option. I disagree for the above reasons.

Some don`t like it as they state that Shakai Hoken is expensive. I agree. Plus what if the law changes? The Japanese authorities say teachers who move back to their home countries will be reimbursed.

But at what rate? I would rather have that money in my hand than trust a government to pay me back.

I don`t think it makes sense for teachers who will only stay in Japan for 1-3 years.

Again the above is moot as the government has made its` decision.

If you do have a choice:

Maybe you have to weigh up all the options and judge for yourself which insurance scheme is best for you.

Health Care in Japan - going to a doctor or a hospital, where few if any of the staff speak English, can be scary to say the least.Add to that, the fact that you are sick and have less energy to deal with this situation, and it becomes a mountain of a challenge to climb. Japan Living has lists of English speaking doctors, clinics and

hospitals in Japan.

English Speaking Doctors and Hospitals with English Speakers

It is sometimes a challenge to find English speaking doctors, especially when new to Japan. Here is a list of them for Kanto.

English speaking doctors and hospitals in Kanto.

My Complaint about Dr. Hideki Akai of Akai Clinic in Tokyo

I was diagnosed with skin cancer in 2010. Dr. Akai took off my lesion. Then we wanted to get a paper to use with the insurance company. Dr. Akai charged us ¥30,000 Yen for that piece of paper!!! But when we submitted it to the insurance company they rejected it, and said it was insufficient.

When I asked Dr. Akai about why he charged so much for a piece of paper that probably took his secretary 1 minute to make, he responded that some hospitals charge over ¥50,000! As if charging ¥30,000 was OK. And then the paper he gave me, even though he has experience with such things was insufficient.

Stay clear of the Akai Clinic.

Try to find some more compassionate doctors in Tokyo is my advice.

Complaints & Comments about the Akai Clinic Tokyo

Health Information at the Click of your Mouse

If you need English info on where to find medical facilities and services in Japan and four other countries (Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand and South Korea), HealthyIM KK can help you. The company, established in January, recently launched a unique hospital search and review portal


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