While medical care in Japan is good, English-speaking physicians and medical facilities that cater to U.S. citizens’ expectations are expensive and not widespread. Japan has a national health insurance system which is available only to those foreigners with long-term visas for Japan. National health insurance does not pay for medical evacuation. Medical caregivers in Japan require payment in full at the time of treatment or concrete proof of ability to pay before they will treat a foreigner who is not a member of the national health insurance plan. Patients must pay the entire amount of the treatment received prior to leaving the hospital. It is up to patients to subsequently request compensation through their U.S. insurance companies. The Japanese government has also instituted enhanced immigration screening for visitors with unpaid medical fees who attempt to re-enter Japan. It is essential to consider obtaining supplemental insurance if your current plan does not cover you while on international travel.
U.S.-style and standard psychiatric care can be difficult to locate in major urban centers in Japan and generally is not available outside of Japan’s major cities. Extended psychiatric care for foreigners in Japan is difficult to obtain at any price. For information on mental health in Japan, please click here.
U.S. prescriptions are not honored in Japan, so if you need ongoing prescription medicine you should arrive with a sufficient supply for your stay in Japan or enough until you are able to see a local care provider. Certain medications, including some commonly prescribed for depression and Attention Deficient Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), are not widely available. Please see the section entitled “Confiscation of Prescription Drugs and Other Medication” on this State Department page, under the tab for “Local Laws & Special Circumstances.” Also see information on importing medicines into Japan and the below lists of medical facilities in Japan.
Good information on vaccinations and other health precautions can be found via the CDC website. For information about outbreaks of infectious diseases abroad, consult the World Health Organization (WHO) website. The WHO website also contains additional health information for travelers, including detailed country-specific health information.
Medical licensing authority in Japan: Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare