Japan’s Economy, Trade, and Industry Ministry has announced plans to launch a government-run company in 2011 which will be aimed at increasing inbound medical tourism.The Ministry has targeted medical tourism as an area for growth in coming years, and plans to grow the mediacl industry by attracting foreign patients.
The new company, which will be funded by both the private and public sector, will become operational in 202. It is likeley that patients in China, Russia, the Middle East, and other nations will be the targets of this initiative, with a focus on partnering with domestic medical services in these countries to form a referral system.
Japan’s Yomiuri Shinbon reports that the Ministry has already allocated approximately 100 million yen ((about $1.1m USD). These funds are intended to cover the company’s startup costs, while other investment is expected to come from both government-affiliated entities and private companies.
Japan has, in the recent months and years, taken steps to increase its standing in the medical tourism industry. With hundreds of thousands of patients traveling yearly to other countries in the region such as Thailand, Taiwan, and Singapore, Japan hopes to tap into the ever-growing medical tourism market. This latest initiative is the product of an expert panel that was set up by the Economy, Trade, and Industry Ministry last fall.
Japan’s medical industry has many advantages that may attract foreign patients. While costs may be higher than in nations such as Thailand and Taiwan, Japan’s modern medical infrastructure and technology is among the best in the world. As a highly-developed country, Japan stands alongside only Taiwan and Singapore as a first-world medical tourism destination in Asia.