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Japan pushes medical tourism to pay the health costs of its ageing population

Monday, 27 July 2009

Japan will start marketing its medical services at well-to-do tourists to raise more revenue for its health care sector, currently strained by an ageing population, according to this month's report from Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry.

About 22 percent of the Japanese population, or 28 million people, is aged 65 years or older, according to the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications. This marks a 10 percent increase from 1990.

Starting in September, ten of Japan's biggest hospitals will work with travel and translation companies to organize tour packages, which will include medical care coupled with cultural sightseeing. The country aims to offer hard-to-find health care services, such as gene diagnosis and regenerative therapies.

"Medical services are important as an industry," Toshiaki Shibata, a researcher at Mitsubishi Research Institute in Tokyo, said to Bloomberg. "In terms of employment, regional medical institutions have a broad base and involving related businesses may help increase national income."

For more information on the increase of medical tourism in Japan, click the link below:

www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601101&sid=ag2pET9VWMiw