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Global Health and Human Security

Japan–World Bank Partnership Program on Universal Health Coverage
2012—Present

A Japan–World Bank Partnership Program on Universal Health Coverage (UHC) has been launched to examine lessons from Japan’s health system, especially its achievement of UHC more than 50 years ago. The goal of the program is to explore how these lessons can be applied to other countries that are trying to develop systems of universal health coverage. The project focuses in particular on financing and human resources, two key components of health systems. JCIE is coordinating the program activities in Japan, including the development of a case study on Japan and various related meetings, through close consultation with the World Bank and various other stakeholders. The joint research builds on JCIE’s earlier project with the Lancet, which resulted in a special series on Japan in the renowned medical journal in September 2011. The Lancet special series on Japan analyzed the successes and challenges of Japan’s health system and commemorated 50 years of UHC in Japan, which was achieved when Japan was still considered a developing country.

Through the Japan–World Bank Partnership Program on UHC, JCIE has put together a team of top experts on health financing and human resources for health in Japan and tasked them with writing in-depth analyses on various aspects of Japan’s health system, including fiscal space management, inequities in contribution rates for health insurance, cost containment mechanisms using Japan’s unified fee schedule, trends in human resource allocation, public sector hospital reform, and education and training of healthcare workers. The papers that result from the research will be compiled into a synthesis report on Japan’s experience and used as a basis for making recommendations to other countries involved in the study. A team of international advisors has been put together to provide feedback to the Japanese researchers on the relevance of their findings to other countries.

As a part of the partnership with the World Bank and the Ministry of Finance, JCIE organized a side event and supported the organization of two official seminars on global health at the IMF/World Bank Annual Meetings, which were held in Tokyo in October 2012. JCIE also organized one of the official sessions and a side event at the Beijing Health Systems Research Symposium in November 2012. In addition, one of the official sessions was organized at the 9th World Congress on Health Economics in Sydney in July 2013. A final Global Health Conference on Universal Health Coverage will be organized in Tokyo on December 5—6, to discuss the findings from the joint research and explore concrete next steps for applying the lessons in other countries. Also, the World Bank, the Government of Japan, JICA and JCIE will co-organize a flagship course on UHC on December 9—17. Further information can be found on the World Bank Institute website.

Program Activities:


Japan's Universal Health Coverage Featured at IMF/World Bank Annual Meetings in Tokyo

As the secretariat of the Japan case study of the Japan–World Bank Partnership Program on Universal Health Coverage (UHC), JCIE worked closely with the World Bank and Ministry of Finance of Japan to organize a roundtable and side seminars on global health and UHC at the IMF/World Bank Annual Meeting held in Tokyo in October 2012.

<For background information please see JCIE's recent project with the Lancet on successes and challenges of Japan's health system, commemorating 50 years of Universal Health Coverage in Japan.>