With tourism hitting all-time highs, the Japan Tourism Agency has compiled a list of medical institutions that are particularly suited for non-Japanese patients.
In all, 326 facilities made the list, with every prefecture represented except Aomori.
Criteria include a 24-hour admissions policy and communication in English in certain departments, including internal medicine, surgery and pediatrics.
The agency hopes the list will encourage non-Japanese to seek help when needed, an official told The Japan Times on Monday.
Travelers can find the list on the Japan National Tourism Organization’s website, where they can search by area, language and medical department. Apart from English, languages offered include Chinese, Korean, Portuguese and Spanish, while available medical departments include dermatology, urology, orthopedic surgery, obstetrics and gynecology.
The list is based on a government action plan compiled in June for turning Japan into a tourism-oriented country. One of the items was providing better information for foreign travelers who fall ill in Japan.
Along with the list of medical institutions, the tourism agency has also created a general guide on how to use medical services. Available in English, Chinese, Korean and Thai, the guide is published on the JNTO’s website and is also intended to be distributed at tourist information centers, hotels and medical facilities.
It offers information about diagnosis and where suitable treatment can be obtained, and gives advice about dealing with hospital red tape and payment.
It also serves as an emergency medical phrase book, giving Japanese translations for symptoms.
To help municipalities deal with tourists who fall sick within their jurisdiction, the agency has also set up consultation centers for local officials that they can contact for advice on handling non-Japanese.
Meanwhile, the agency has launched a drive to encourage visitors to obtain international travel medical insurance. A 2013 survey by the agency showed some 30 percent of travelers to Japan had not bought trip insurance, the official said.
The government aims to secure annual visitor numbers of 20 million people by the 2020 Olympics. A record number of 19.73 million tourists visited Japan in 2015, marking a 47.1 percent increase from 2014, according to the JNTO.
In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.