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Health Care

Dread dental exams? In Japan they may soon be mandatory

Ruling LDP stresses social safety net as upper house election nears

Annual dental exams can head off more severe health problems and save money down the line, advocates say.

TOKYO -- The Japanese government says it will consider adding a requirement for annual dental checkups in its basic economic and fiscal reform package due out in June, aiming to spot health problems earlier and reduce overall lifetime medical spending.

The measure, advocated by groups including the Japan Dental Federation, appears aimed at winning over these lobbies with a focus on social welfare programs ahead of the upper house election in July. The ruling Liberal Democratic Party included a universal dental examination requirement in its platform for last year's lower house election as well.

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