Regarding Daryl Bradley’s Oct. 15 letter, “Why the penalty for latecomers?“: If Japan was serious about getting foreigners enrolled in national health insurance, it would realize that fear of back payments is one of the biggest reasons why foreigners do all they can to avoid enrollment. The answer is simple: an “amnesty program” where foreigners are excused from back payments if they enroll in the plan by a certain date.

If such an amnesty was granted, I can’t imagine any foreigners hesitating to enroll in the plan. Then, Japan’s stated goal of ensuring health care access for foreigners — if that really is the government’s goal as opposed to “shaking down” foreigners for cash — would be achieved.

jennifer kim