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Health Care

Japan's health care reform debate drags on as worker shortage grows

Reform council backs task-sharing proposal for nurses, but bigger steps deferred

Japan's health ministry estimates that the country will be short nearly 1 million health and welfare workers by 2040. (Photo by Takaki Kashiwabara)

TOKYO -- Japan should let nurses handle more tasks themselves, a government advisory council said Thursday, but postponed decisions on around a third of proposals to deal with a deepening shortage of medical personnel.

"Medical and nursing care and infectious disease control" was among the priority areas identified in the report presented to Prime Minister Fumio Kishida by the Council for Promotion of Regulatory Reform. The proposals will be considered for an implementation plan to be approved by the cabinet this month.

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