Municipal and prefectural governments across Japan are launching campaigns urging foreign visitors to buy travel insurance as a surge in unpaid medical bills puts pressure on hospitals' budgets.

If uninsured travelers get injured or sick in Japan, they have to foot the bill for all medical expenses. Nearly 30 percent of all tourists arrive without any travel insurance at all, according to a government survey.

Government agencies are using various ways to nudge travelers toward buying insurance, including by placing flyers at tourist information centers in airports and hotels, and distributing cards listing the most expensive hospital treatments.