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Outpatient visits to hospitals by children younger than 10 fell more than 20% in Japan in 2021 as parents feared economic repercussions.

COVID keeps kids in Japan away from doctors as families struggle

Children's medical visits fall 20% as parents opt not to skip work

AIKO MUNAKATA, Nikkei staff writer | Japan

TOKYO -- Young children in Japan made 20% fewer doctor visits last year. Some experts credit widespread mask-wearing but others say many parents kept their children away from hospitals out of fear they would not be able to work if their kids contract the novel coronavirus.

The number of outpatient visits by children younger than 10 fell 23.8% in 2021 from 2019, before the outbreak of the pandemic, compared to a 15% drop among 65- to 70-year-olds and an average 7.4% decline for all age groups, according to research by the Nikkei based on medical payment data from the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare.

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