Medical institutions

Japan has general hospitals, specialty hospitals, clinics, private practitioners and other medical institutions. Find out what departments the hospitals in your area cover and what their hours and days off are. When you go to see a physician, don’t forget to bring your National Health Insurance card with you.
Many major general hospitals require a referral and appointment, and waiting times can be long. On the other hand, you do not need to make a prior appointment for a private hospital in most cases. In many cases, you’ll need an appointment to visit a dental clinic, so check ahead of time. For mild ailments and injuries, you can buy over-the-counter medicines at drug stores and supermarkets.

Difference in medical costs depending on the hospital

When using public health insurance such as National Health Insurance (which is honored at almost all hospitals) and undergoing treatment covered by health insurance, the costs for the same treatment will be essentially the same no matter which hospital you go to. However, if you are not covered by public health insurance, you will have to cover the full costs by yourself.

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Medical counseling in foreign languages

If you would like to know which medical institutions provide services in languages other than Japanese, please ask your school, a friend or a local international relations association. There are also organizations that provide information about hospitals that provide care in foreign languages.

Tokyo Metropolitan Medical
Institution Information
Service “Himawari”
AMDA International Medical
Information Center
Details Information about medical institutions with foreign-language services in English, Chinese, Korean, Thai and Spanish. Lists medical institutions with foreign languages services and provides information on medical welfare systems in multiple languages.
Telephone number 03-5285-8181 03-6233-9266
Mon. to Fri., 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Hours Daily 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. English: Mon. to Fri.
Chinese: Tue. and Thu.
Korean: Mon.
Thai: Tue.
Spanish: Wed.
Portuguese: Fri.
Tagalog: Mon.
Vietnamese: 2nd and 4th Wed.
Easy Japanese: Mon. to Fri.

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Health Insurance System

To lessen the burden of medical costs in the case of illness and injury, Japan has a system where all residents must enroll in public health insurance. Foreigners residing in Japan for three months or longer must either enroll in a health insurance plan provided by their employer or enroll in National Health Insurance at their local city office.

National Health Insurance

National Health Insurance is the insurance program that covers anyone in Japan who is not enrolled in a health insurance program at his or her place of employment. If you are registered in the Basic Resident Register, you have an obligation to enroll in the National Health Insurance program. Even if you are staying in Japan for less than three months, you are required to join the National Health Insurance program if you are registered as a resident.
If you are enrolled in National Health Insurance, personal expenses will be 30 percent of the medical fees.
Enrollment is carried out at the National Health Insurance desk at your local city office.
Note: If you do not have your insurance card with you when you go for medical treatment, you will have to pay the full amount of the costs. However, if you return to the hospital at a later date with your receipt and insurance card, you will be reimbursed for the amount covered by National Health Insurance.

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Pension system

What is the National Pension System?

The National Pension System is the pension system run by the national government to support the elderly, handicapped and beneficiaries of a deceased person covered by the pension. All persons living in Japan 20 or older and up to 60 years of age must be enrolled in the National Pension System. However, those who work for a Japanese company are enrolled in the Employee’s Pension Insurance program—your employer handles enrollment—so they do not have to enroll in the National Pension System.

Enrollment procedures and payment of pension contributions

Enrollment papers are filed at the National Pension desk at the government office where you are registered as a resident. Once enrolled, the local pension office will send you your pension passbook and pension payment forms. Use the payment forms to make your contribution payments at a financial institution.

If you return to your home country

Even if you are not living in Japan when you become eligible to receive pension benefits, the benefits can be sent to you in your home country.

Lump-Sum Withdrawal Payments

You must pay the pension system for a fixed period of time to qualify to receive pension benefits. A one-time lump-sum withdrawal payment of benefits is available for foreign residents who leave Japan before this time period is up. To receive the lump-sum withdrawal payment, you must have made pension contribution payments for six months or more and you must apply for the payout within two years of returning to your home country.

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