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Understanding how Japanese medical practice differs from that in your home country can be crucial to avoiding unwelcome surprises next time you or a loved one find yourselves in need of treatment at a local clinic or hospital.

Without pre-planning, for instance, an expectant mother could find herself giving birth in the delivery room at a big, busy university or city hospital in the middle of the night, without access to anesthetics and meeting the doctor who is to deliver her baby for the first time. Time and space constraints may mean that the husband, mother or another close family member is not allowed into the delivery room. In a worst-case scenario, giving birth in Japan can be a painful, solitary affair.

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