The Japan Tourism Agency will start a survey to check the number of visitors from abroad who have bought travel insurance, hoping to draw up measures to encourage more foreign visitors to get coverage, according to sources.
Some visitors enter Japan without travel insurance, receive medical treatment during their time here and then leave the country without paying for it.
The interview survey is likely to be conducted at airports when visitors leave Japan. The agency plans to work out the questions to be asked within the year and carry out the survey until the end of next March, the sources said.
The agency plans to ask whether visitors have bought travel insurance for their stays in Japan, and if so, what type of insurance it is.
Other questions are expected to include whether they suffered injury or illness during their stay, and if so whether they visited a medical institution.
A 2013 trial survey by the agency found that some 30 percent of foreign visitors did not buy travel or other insurance to cover potential medical costs during their stay.
The government aims to increase the annual number of visitors to Japan from 24 million in 2016 to 40 million in 2020. The number of foreign people visiting medical institutions is also expected to grow.
The agency will use the results of the planned survey to consider effective ways to inform visitors about Japan’s medical care service system and encourage them to buy travel insurance. It also plans to give medical institutions advice on accepting foreign visitors.
The agency will accelerate efforts to provide foreign visitors information on travel insurance that can be bought after their arrival in Japan.