April 19, 2014 5:44 am JST

Japan to fund cancer-screening ventures in Asia, South America

TOKYO -- The Japanese government will provide funding and other support for domestic companies looking to sell preventive health care equipment and services in emerging markets.

     The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry will select seven projects in as many countries for assistance this month. Each will receive 100 million yen ($965,000), as well as help in sorting out regulatory issues.

     Several of the ventures will focus on cancer diagnosis. One will seek to open a clinic in the Chinese city of Qingdao that will offer breast cancer screenings and minimally invasive removal of breast tumors. The operator of the Kameda Medical Center, a destination for medical tourists outside Tokyo, and manufacturer Fujifilm will provide training and equipment.

     Another project will involve colon cancer screening in Brazil. In India, Hitachi will work with a local hospital to open a cancer center.

     Nagoya University, Fujifilm and Hitachi will partner on expanding the use of endoscopes in Vietnam to check for signs of lifestyle-related diseases. Projects in Indonesia, Myanmar and Turkey are also poised to receive assistance.

     The government is aiming for a tenfold increase in medical device exports and overseas medical services by Japanese providers by 2030, which would bring the total to 5 trillion yen. It has a goal of establishing 10 or so comprehensive medical centers in emerging markets within the decade.