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Drawn-out dentistry, legal help

by Angela Jeffs

Do you have a problem? Is there something you need, whether it be information, a service or an item that you cannot find?

This column is named Lifelines for good reason: it offers ways and advice by which to help iron out the wrinkles of daily living in Japan and improve life in general and offers a forum for readers to help one another.

More on dentists

The last time Joanna (who lives in Taizu in Shizuoka Prefecture) went to the dentist she learned she needed a couple of fillings.

“I was told that because of the insurance system, my dentist could not do all the work needed in one session, and couldn’t work on more than one tooth at a time.

“If I wanted everything done at once, it would be a lot more expensive.”

Joanna asks if this is true. “It sounds very strange to me, but I have heard it before,” she adds.

D in Yokohama confirms that Japanese dentists work to a set of rules established by the Japanese health insurance (“hoken”) system.

He says that according to this system, when you have your teeth cleaned (for example), it has to be done in two treatments.

Unlike dentists in the West, who do upper and lower teeth at the same time, Japanese dentists are not allowed to bill the insurance company in this way.

“I think most dentists here who treat foreigners clean the full set at one time, fix the paperwork and charge double, simply because it is easier than trying to explain why they can only do half at one time.”

Irish pub in Nagoya

A reader in Nagoya wonders how she can help her British husband who, together with four Japanese, two other Brits and an American used their savings and hard labor to open an authentic Irish pub.

“It did not do so well over the first four years and the leader told the other seven partners that it would have to close, and that they would have would forfeit the funds etc. they put in.

“Three years later she says it is still running and doing good business.

“But the seven owner-partners are excluded and have not received a single yen from the business in all this time. Please give me some advice as to how my husband can get back the money he sunk into it.”

This is a strictly legal matter, so take your problem — just as you have explained it here but backed up with statements and all existing paperwork — to a lawyer.

He or she will tell you whether you have a case and how it might best be handled.

If you are Japanese, go to any accredited law office.

If you are not Japanese? With the cooperation of the Nagoya Bar Association, Nagoya International Center offers a free legal counseling service on Saturdays 10 a.m.-12:30 p.m. in English, Chinese, Spanish and Portuguese.

To receive this service, leave a message on the answering machine at (052) 581-6111.

A member of the counseling staff will call you back to schedule an appointment.

NIC’s Web site (an excellent resource) is at www.nic-nagoya.or.jp/.