Japan Press Weekly
[Advanced search]
Past issues
Special issues
Fact Box
Feature Articles
Mail to editor
Mail magazine
HOME  > Past issues  > 2021 October 6 - 12  > LDP neoliberal policies have greatly weakened the public health system
> List of Past issues
Bookmark and Share
2021 October 6 - 12 [POLITICS]

LDP neoliberal policies have greatly weakened the public health system

October 7, 2021
Successive Japanese governments led by the Liberal Democratic Party and its junior partner Komei Party, including the Abe regime inaugurated in late 2012, have been cutting back on the country's acute medical services. This has become one of the factors that led to "the collapse of the medical system" during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Japan in the past required hospitals to have on duty at least one nurse for every seven acutely-ill inpatients. However, for the purpose of slashing state expenditures for public medical programs, the LDP-Komei government by easing this standard forced medical institutions to tolerate short-handed shifts in acute wards.

A health professional pointed out, "To deal with COVID-19 cases, two or three times more nurses than usual in acute care is necessary," blaming the government for causing many private hospitals to be incapable of taking in COVID-19 patients.

The LDP-Komei government's neoliberal policies of curbing medical expenses have weakened the foundation of the country's healthcare and sanitary programs.

At present, the number of intensive care unit (ICU) beds per 100,000 people in Japan is less than half of that in Italy where a medical system collapse occurred last spring and one sixth of that in Germany. In regard to the number of doctors per 1,000 people, Japan ranked 32nd among the 36 OECD members - the lowest among G7 countries. The number of public health centers, whose functions now are to find and quarantine people infected with COVID-19 in order to prevent further infections, was halved in the past 30 years. The number of doctors permanently working at public health centers decreased by about 40%.

The Japanese Communist Party pledges to work to:
- double the number of infectious disease beds and ICU beds;
- cancel the planned abolition and consolidation of public- and publicly-owned hospitals;
- cancel the planned reduction in hospital staff and increase the number of doctors;
- review the standard for nurse placement and improve their working conditions;
- double the budget for public health centers and increase the number of centers and staff members;
- expand the budget for the National Institute of Infectious Diseases and local institutes of public health;
- establish an experts panel to properly deal with infectious diseases which is independent from the government.
> List of Past issues
  Copyright (c) Japan Press Service Co., Ltd. All right reserved