The Japanese Society of Gender Identity Disorder on Sunday certified its first group of GID specialist doctors to ensure patients receive proper medical treatment.
The society said at its general assembly in Tokyo that nine doctors, including some on its board of directors, from different fields and areas of expertise, including neuropsychiatry, were recognized under a newly launched certification system.
The society eventually hopes to get national health insurance to cover the cost of hormone therapy and gender reassignment surgery, which is currently shouldered by the patients.
The society also hopes to increase the number of GID-certified doctors to around 50 within five years, and raise the number of facilities where such treatment is available.
GID patients often go abroad to receive cheap reassignment surgery as the procedure is expensive in Japan, according to the society.
The expertise of the nine doctors ranges from obstetrics to gynecology, urology and plastic surgery. They were chosen because of their GID-related research and experience in medical care, among other factors, the society said.
The doctors include Okayama University professor Mikiya Nakatsuka, head of the society.
In 2004, a special law was enacted in Japan to allow GID patients to change their gender on government records.