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Globalization, urbanization and air travel mean not only that disease respects no borders but that it can reach the scale of a pandemic in days. No country is immune, regardless of economic or military power. At the same time, emerging shifts in society, such as aging and increasing drug resistance, are challenging existing responses.

Japan has set the gold standard in national universal health coverage and is a pioneer in the development of new drugs. In less than half a century, it has transformed itself from a developing country rife with infectious diseases into the nation with the highest life expectancy. Public health programs now form the foundation of many of the World Health Organization’s current strategies.

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