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As pregnant women, children and rural residents in Japan face a crisis in getting medical treatment, the government has decided to increase the quota for medical schools. This is a welcome move. It is urgent that the government take well-thought-out measures to deal with specific problems responsible for the shortage and lopsided distribution of doctors.

To deal with the crisis, the medical school quota for Hokkaido will rise by up to 15 and quotas for other prefectures will increase by up to five, starting with fiscal 2008. If the expanded quota is in force for 10 years, up to 2,450 doctors will be assigned to remote areas or to obstetric and pediatric departments.

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