• Kyodo


The government will permit a university in Tohoku to establish a new medical department, education minister Hakubun Shimomura said.

To be launched as early as spring 2015, it will be the first medical department to open in the country since the University of the Ryukyus established one in Okinawa Prefecture in 1979, Shimomura said Friday.

The education ministry has not approved the creation of new medical departments in recent years to prevent an oversupply of doctors, but the latest move aims to assist the regeneration of Tohoku following the March 2011 quake, tsunami and nuclear disasters.

The government has yet to decide which university will get to open the medical department.

The new facility will be required to train doctors capable of contributing to the recovery of Tohoku by studying medical therapies to assist those suffering as a result of the disasters. It will also be urged to establish a scholarship for students who commit to working in the region after graduating from university, the ministry said.

The university chosen to host the medical department will be banned from recruiting as faculty members doctors and nurses from nearby areas so as not to disrupt the regional health care infrastructure.

Currently, Tohoku Fukushi University and Tohoku Pharmaceutical University, both based in Sendai, have expressed willingness to open a medical department.

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