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MHLW

The health ministry has adopted its first guidelines on alcohol consumption to raise awareness of its health risks.
JAPAN / Science & Health
Feb 19, 2024
Japan draws up guidelines on alcohol consumption
The guidelines set out the amount of alcohol consumed that raises the risk of developing diseases, in a bid to encourage people to drink in moderation.
Vietnamese people take Japanese lessons in Hanoi in June 2023 before heading to Japan to work.
JAPAN
Jan 26, 2024
Number of foreign workers in Japan surpasses 2 million for first time
Tokyo has the largest population of foreign workers, followed by Aichi and Osaka prefectures.
A suicide helpline worker takes calls in Tokyo. Health ministry officials say that comprehensive countermeasures are needed to realize a society in which people do not feel suicidal.
JAPAN / Society
Jan 26, 2024
Suicides in Japan decreased slightly to 21,818 in 2023
The decrease marks the first decline in the number of suicides in two years.
Gummy products containing hexahydrocannabihexol, which resembles a cannabis compound.
JAPAN / Crime & Legal
Dec 22, 2023
Japan bans sale of 38 goods with synthetic cannabis compounds
The ban applies to items containing any of five substances, including hexahydrocannabiphorol and tetrahydrocannabiphorol acetate.
An electron microscopic image shows mature, oval-shaped monkeypox virus particles.
JAPAN / Science & Health
Dec 13, 2023
Japan confirms first death from mpox in country
Japan's first case of mpox, formerly known as monkeypox, was confirmed in July last year.
public spending for people with disabilities as a percentage of gross domestic product has been very low, at 0.7% to 1.2%, compared with the roughly 2% average by OECD countries.
JAPAN / Society
Dec 9, 2023
Japan facilities for disabled people face serious labor shortages
The industry has been affected by low wages and a shrinking population, according to an industry survey.
The health ministry compiled a draft plan to strengthen regulations on the sales of over-the-counter drugs, including banning retailers from selling cough and cold remedies that may be abused to people under 20 in large volume.
JAPAN
Dec 1, 2023
Japan to tighten regulations on over-the-counter drug sales
The plan comes in response to the spread of overdoses mainly among young people.
Yoshikazu Uchikawa, head lawyer representing plaintiffs of a lawsuit demanding that cuts in welfare benefits be revoked, speaks at a news conference in Nagoya on Thursday following a Nagoya High Court ruling.
JAPAN / Crime & Legal
Dec 1, 2023
Japan high court revokes welfare benefit cuts
The plaintiffs argued that there was an error in the method for calculating the price index used as the basis for the reductions.
Customers look at products on display outside a drug store in Tokyo on Friday. As part of a trial, 145 stores nationwide will be allowed to sell morning-after pills until the end of March.
JAPAN / Science & Health
Nov 27, 2023
Japan to start trial of over-the-counter sales of morning-after pills
The health ministry will allow 145 stores nationwide to sell morning-after pills until the end of March.
Lanterns with messages at a "memorial service" for unused paid leave in Osaka in December 2019
BUSINESS
Nov 26, 2023
Japanese workers took 62% of the paid leave they were given in 2022
While the total ratio was a record high, the results showed the government still has a considerable way to go if it hopes to achieve its goal of 70%.
The health ministry's drug enforcement officials investigate a retailer in the city of Osaka on Friday.
JAPAN / Crime & Legal
Nov 21, 2023
Japan to ban marijuana-derived substance found in gummy candies
An expert panel at the health ministry decided to officially add the HHCH synthetic compound to a drug list, with the ban taking effect from Dec. 2.
The health ministry in Tokyo
JAPAN / Crime & Legal
Nov 20, 2023
Japan eyes banning cannabinoid HHCH after gummies make many ill
Once HHCH is designated as a psychoactive drug, its possession, use and distribution will be illegal.
The labor ministry is planning to review the workers' accident compensation program to cover all freelancers commissioned to work for companies.
BUSINESS
Nov 20, 2023
Japan to expand workers' accident compensation for freelancers
The measure is aimed at creating an environment in which freelancers can work with a sense of security.
Japan’s policy came under scrutiny during the COVID-19 pandemic, when vaccines approved overseas needed additional testing prior to their approval in Japan.
JAPAN / Science & Health
Nov 14, 2023
Japan set to scrap rule requiring testing of new drugs on Japanese
To sell a drug in Japan, pharmaceutical firms are required to conduct additional trials specifically targeting Japanese participants.
The government aims to have 50% of new fathers take child care leave by 2025 and 85% by 2030.
JAPAN / Society
Nov 13, 2023
Japan panel proposes child care plan covering 100% of income
The 100% allowance would only be offered for up to 28 days, with the amount for any further leave being around 80% of income.
Japan Times
JAPAN / Science & Health
Nov 9, 2023
Drug shortages create challenge for Japan as influenza cases rise
Amid an earlier-than-usual start of the flu season, a type of flu medicine for children is experiencing a supply shortage as cases rise.
Japan's latest report on death by overwork delves into the amount of sleep both self-employed and corporate workers are getting and how that affects workers' health.
JAPAN / Science & Health
Oct 13, 2023
Report on overwork highlights Japan's work-life balance issues
Over 90% of self-employed and corporate workers in Japan feel they need at least six hours of sleep, but only about half are getting it, the report said.
A meeting to discuss how to prevent the use of kiken drugs (hazardous drugs), is held at the health ministry on Friday.
JAPAN / Crime & Legal
Sep 29, 2023
As drug use rises in Japan, government eyes prevention plans
The ministry reported that by the end of August, around 300 stores in the country were found to be selling quasi-legal products known as “kiken drugs.”
Demonstrators during a Women's Day march in Tokyo on March 8
JAPAN / Science & Health
Sep 28, 2023
Consent issue casts shadow on safe abortion in Japan
The law stipulates that abortion must be carried out in the early stages of pregnancy with the consent of one's spouse.
A vial of the Moderna COVID-19 booster vaccine targeting BA.4 and BA.5 omicron subvariants. Japan will roll out an updated version targeting the XBB variant on Wednesday.
JAPAN / Explainer
Sep 19, 2023
Japan to begin COVID vaccine drive targeting XBB subvariant
The free shots will be offered until March next year to prepare residents for an expected uptick in infections during the winter.

Longform

At the Akan International Crane Center, just north of the city of Kushiro proper, visitors can see the majestic red-crowned crane — a symbol of Hokkaido.
Faces of the north: A Hokkaido town grapples with depopulation