Japanese health and healthcare explained

Why do the Japanese sometimes pay sharei direct cash payments to doctors?

Why does every Japanese local clinic have a speciality?/ Why are there no local general practioner doctors?

How can the Japanese eat chicken sashimi? Isn’t there a danger of food poisoning?

Why so much bad skin?

Why do many big Japanese companies have their own hospitals?

In a classic Japanese mix between charity and business, most of them are non-profit making organisations that were set up by companies to serve mainly the employees of the companies.

Why are there no famous Japanese pharmaceutical companies?
A very slow drug realtor system that means even Japanese companies get permission to release drugs everywhere else long before Japan and lots of money to made from folk remedies that don’t sell outside Japan

Why do Japanese and Westerners think pregnancy is a different number of months?

It gets counted from the day of conception rather than the missed period??

Why do Japanese doctors only give 3 day prescriptions?

So you go back to the doctor for some and they get paid again

Why is the pill not more used in Japan?

It was only legalized for contraceptive use in 1998 and continues to get mainly negative publicity. The official reason is that condoms are better for AIDS protection. The conspiracy theory is that it’s social control, or even to guarantee doctors’ income from abortions

Why does no one worry about MSG (monosodium glutenate, a food flavour enhancer named in Japan after the the company that first extracted it from seaweed- Ajinomoto)?

A lot of experts in the West still don’t believe that MSG allergies exist. It is possible that the anti-msg hysteria in the West was made worse or even caused by negative feelings towards Chinese food and/or Chinese people. Alternatively, the fact that the Japanese are behind the Americans in the increase in food allergies could due to childhood not being entirely antiseptic yet

Why are there such high rates of TB (the highest in the industrialized world)in Japan?

 It’s usually a sign of poverty, something that has long been ignored in Japan but is an obvious effect of the lack of social benefits.

Why do Japanese doctors not tell people directly when they have a terminal disease?

Why do Japanese doctors always give you a stack of pills?

Why are Japanese hospitals filled with brand new almost unused technology?

Come the end of the financial all public employees including doctors are under immense pressure to spend all of the rest of their budget so that it doesn’t get cut next year. That also makes it the peak time of year for kickbacks from the manufacturers of the unneccesary technology.

Why do Japanese hospitals and clinics not have an appointment system?

The culture of sychophantic respect for the sensei (doctor) means that there is no pressure from below to make things easier for patients. This explanation straight from the horse’s mouth- twice!

How do the Japanese live so long?

Traditional explanations include miso soup, lots of fish, staying active when retired, or for Okinawa, pork and goya. To which I say: high salt content, mercury and other poisons in shellfish and seaweed, and how come pork sausages don’t make the English live longer too?? All a bit of an old question now anyway, as most experts are expecting the Japanese life expectancy to take a Megamac and Playstation 3 fueled dive sometime soon.

Why do the Japanese not worry about mercury etc. in fish, shellfish and seaweed?

I’m really puzzled on this one. Japanese people in England have problems getting all the seaweed they want for cooking because it is banned, quite sensibly, due to high levels of dodgy chemicals from polluted seas in Japan and the UK. And the International Herald Tribune has a story of tuna sushi in New York that should have a health warning on it. Maybe they just don’t want to believe it about something they don’t want to live without- a bit like Scottish people and cholesterol, and everyone and smoking.

How can there be smoking and non smoking sections in a cafe divided only by a rope?

In Asian countries symbolism and making an effort often count more than the practical effects of a rule or how it is enforced. And anyway, people can get used to anything- it’s only when you get used to living smoke free that you notice when it isn’t.

How can smoking be banned outside on the street in some areas of Tokyo but not inside restaurants?

In Japan, the emphasis seems to be on not annoying people with your smoke rather than the health problems of secondary smoking. The reason why some posters are aimed specifically at people walking and smoking, for example, is that you could hit someone and burn their hands. The fact that less attention is given to the fact that you could actually help kill someone with your smoke is likely to have a lot to do with the fact that the government owns the biggest tobacco company (no mention at all of health in the public Tobacco and Salt Museum in Shibuya, Tokyo!) and that they want the public to have as many ways as they like for letting off steam and forgetting that the ruling classes are screwing them.

Why is it rude to blow your nose in public in Japan?

One theory is that in Asia the most common diseases could be passed on through handkerchiefs etc, while those in Europe were more likely to be passed on through spitting- hence the fact that spitting didn’t start to die out in Japan until the Meiji authorities decided it wasn’t something seemly to do in front of foreigners.

1 Comment

  1. April 16, 2010 at 4:25 am

    Bad skin seems to come from white rice allergies.

    The modern Japanese diet isn’t that healthy, and it is impacting or will impact the people under 30 over the next 30 years.

    Japanese now get too many carbohydrates, like Americans and other westerners. However, they get in the form of white rice and bread, and not bread and potatoes and high fructose-sweetened soft drinks. But that is changing. The Obesity Epidemic is just getting started here.

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