The Cabinet secretariat plans to introduce a 24-hour medical service for the prime minister to improve emergency care, Chief Cabinet Secretary Mikio Aoki announced Friday.

Medical experts from the Self-Defense Force’s Chuo Hospital will be on stand-by to provide 24-hour medical care at the prime minister’s Official Residence, according to a basic plan unveiled by Aoki.

In addition, the government will nominate several hospitals where the prime minister will be able to receive immediate medical treatment in the event of an emergency.

The move comes in the wake of the April 2 collapse of former Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi, who lapsed into a coma after suffering a stroke. He died six weeks later.

The plan also requires the government to install medical facilities in the new Official Residence complex, which is scheduled to be completed in fiscal 2001.

In addition to a basic checkup at the Official Residence, the plan calls for the prime minister to receive a monthly medical check at his family doctors’ hospital.