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HOME  > Past issues  > 2021 March 10 - 16  > Tokyoites' medical resources may go to for-profit 'medical tourism'
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2021 March 10 - 16 [SOCIAL ISSUES]

Tokyoites' medical resources may go to for-profit 'medical tourism'

March 11, 2021
The Tokyo metropolitan government is considering paving the way for for-profit "medical tourism" through the process of transforming metropolitan-owned and publicly-owned hospitals into independent administrative institutions.

Japanese Communist Party member of the Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly Shiraishi Tamio on March 9 took up this issue at an assembly's budget committee meeting by presenting a document he obtained through an information disclosure request.

Medical tourism is defined as traveling abroad for the purpose of receiving medical care.

According to the document dated June 19, 2019, the metropolitan government is considering initiating a policy to "utilize advanced medical technologies soTokyo's public hospitals can meet the needs of wealthy foreigners who come to Japan to seek medical treatment".

Shiraishi said, "The real aim of turning public hospitals into independent administrative entities is to reduce Tokyo's financial burdens, which may trigger a never-ending pursuit of profits."

He expressed concern over medical tourism by saying, "The limited and valuable medical resources currently available to Tokyo citizens could be diverted to rich foreigners, and healthcare provisions for Tokyoites could be curtailed."
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