About 84 percent of medical doctors working full-time at prisons and detention centers across Japan work less than four days a week, falling short of their designated working hours as prescribed by the civil service law, according to a government survey.
The Ministry of Justice study appears to underscore the practice of “name-lending” among medical professionals, in which doctors receive salaries from hospitals even though they perform no work.
The Justice Ministry, working with the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare, is planning to correct what is apparently a widespread practice, officials said.
According to the Justice Ministry’s Correction Bureau, 88 of the 189 prisons and detention centers across Japan are required by law to have full-time medical doctors. As of March, 219 doctors were assigned to these institutions.
The survey, however, shows that only 35, or about 16 percent of the total, were actually working at prison and detention facilities five days a week.
Of the remaining 184 doctors, 151 worked in the facilities three days a week; 16, two days; 12, four days; and five doctors only one day.
These doctors, paid in accordance with the civil service remuneration law, are believed to receive around 10 million yen in annual salary.
Under the civil service law, full-time doctors at prisons and detention centers are required to work a minimum of 40 hours a week.
When the issue of work practices among prison doctors was brought up in the Diet earlier this year, the health ministry said on the days when doctors do not show up for work in prison they are supposed to be working at the universities that have assigned them to prison duty.
Justice Minister Mayumi Moriyama told reporters on Friday that the problem is partly due to a shortage of doctors.