The city of Matsusaka in Mie Prefecture began on June 1 to collect fees from patients taken by ambulance to any of its three core hospitals but who are assessed as not needing hospitalization.

Such people are required to pay ¥7,700 ($50) in the form of an additional fee for first-time patients without a referral.

The city’s move is aimed at suppressing the number of ambulance dispatches in the area, which is high compared with other areas nationwide.