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Every other year the Central Social Insurance Medical Council (Chuikyo) determines how much health insurance societies must pay to medical institutions for medical treatments. The 165,000-member Japan Medical Association, which includes private and hospital doctors and traditionally has supported the Liberal Democratic Party, has customarily had three representatives on the 20-member council. But things have changed drastically under the new government.

Health and welfare minister Akira Nagatsuma has decided to remove the three JMA-linked council members. They will be replaced by a member of the Ibaraki Prefectural Medical Association — which rebelled against the JMA leadership and supported the Democratic Party of Japan in the Aug. 30 Lower House election — a member of the Kyoto Prefectural Medical Association, which keeps the JMA at a distance, and the dean of Yamagata University’s medical school.

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