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Global Health and Human Security

Lancet Special Series on Japan Launch Symposium

Restructuring Japan's Healthcare System—Beyond the March 11 Disaster
September 1, 2011
Lancet Special Series: "Japan: Universal Health Care at 50 Years"

Symposium Overview

World-renowned medical journal the Lancet has released a special series on Japan in September 2011 that commemorates the 50th anniversary of Japan's attainment of universal healthcare coverage. The first such special series by the Lancet focusing on a single industrialized country, the series explores many facets of Japan's health system, including its remarkable achievements in life expectancy and health status in a brief period of time, the advantages and limitations of universal healthcare coverage, its ability to maintain high quality of healthcare at low cost, achievements and challenges in the face of the world's most rapidly aging society, and Japan's commitment to global health and health diplomacy. The authors for this series analyze these themes while highlighting challenges for sustaining Japan's system of universal coverage and providing recommendations for health experts inside and outside of Japan.


English video on Ustream

Japanese video on Ustream

The Japan Center for International Exchange (JCIE) and the Lancet organized an international public symposium in Tokyo on September 1, 2011, as part of the series launch. Japan managed to rebuild its health system rapidly following the devastation of World War II and achieved universal coverage of health insurance in 1961. Today, it enjoys the world's highest life expectancy and some of the best health indicators. At the same time, Japan faces serious challenges in maintaining its high level of health services in the face of a rapidly aging society and sluggish economic conditions. The March 11 earthquake and tsunami brought to light many vulnerabilities in the healthcare system, not only in the Tohoku region but throughout the country, including limited access to healthcare service in rural areas, lack of primary care physicians, inappropriate medical governance, and challenges facing elderly communities, to name only a few.

The symposium shared findings from the Lancet Special Series on Japan and the challenges confronting Japan's health system in the wake of the disasters in Tohoku and the implications for the future direction of Japan's health system which should be based on the principles of equity and solidarity. In addition, the symposium also provided a forum for sharing Japan's experience in achieving and maintaining a healthy population in the face of an aging population and changing economic conditions with other countries that are trying to strengthen their own health systems. In other words, the series and symposium presented Japan with the opportunity to play an important role in creating a healthier world by sharing our successes and our challenges with experts from around the globe.

>>>Watch Archived Video of the Sessions (English | Japanese)



Date & time:

September 1, 2011, 9:30–17:30 (doors open at 9:00)

Venue: U Thant International Conference Hall, United Nations University (5-53-70 Jingu Mae, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo)
  http://www.jcie.org/japan/j/pdf/data_form/lancetlaunch/access_to_UNU.pdf
Organizers: Co-sponsored by the Japan Center for International Exchange and the Lancet
Supporters:

Ministry of Foreign Affairs; Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare; Ministry of Finance; World Bank; and the Yomiuri Shimbun


Agenda

Opening Session

Moderator: Tadashi Yamamoto, President, Japan Center for International Exchange (JCIE)

Opening Remarks

Overview

Session 1: What Does the Disaster Teach Us about Japan's Health System?

Moderator: Keizo Takemi

Situation Report:

Commentators:

Session 2: Current Challenges Facing Japan's Health System

Moderator: Michael Reich

Presentations

Medical Service Delivery
Medical and Long-term Care for the Older
Sustainability of Universal Coverage

Commentators:

Session 3: Reforms for the FutureMaintaining Equity, Efficiency, and Sustainability

Moderator: Shunsuke Watanabe, Professor, Tokyo Women's Medical College; former Editorial Writer, Nikkei Shimbun

Presentation:

Comments:

Session 4: Global Implications of Achieving Universal Healthcare Coverage Based on Human Security

Moderator: Richard Horton

Presentation:

Commentators:

Concluding Remarks