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Japan to certify Chinese hospitals to streamline medical tourism

Visas for medical treatment in Japan surged 40% last year

TOKYO -- Japanese hospitals will be able to receive information on foreign patients before and after treatment by working with Chinese hospitals that have earned a stamp of approval.

The government-backed Medical Excellence Japan will lead the efforts, starting with the certification of a hospital in Beijing as early as the fall. It will be checking whether hospitals are able to relay medical information to Japan before treatment and after patients return home.

The number of foreigners arriving in Japan for medical purposes has risen sharply in recent years, especially from China. Medical visa issuances jumped nearly 40% to about 1,300 last year.

But the increase has also led to the rise of unscrupulous brokers. Patients have been abandoned in front of hospitals in some cases, while other brokers have found ways for clients to illegally use the Japanese health insurance system. The certification system aims to help reduce the number of such incidents.

Medical Excellence also plans to certify hospitals in other countries as well.


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