OECD Reviews of Public Health: Japan

A Healthier Tomorrow

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This review assesses Japan's public health system, highlights areas of strength and weakness, and makes a number of recommendations for improvement. The review examines Japan's public health system architecture, and how well policies are responding to population health challenges, including Japan's ambition of maintaining good population health, as well as promoting longer healthy life expectancy for the large and growing elderly population. In particular, the review assesses Japan's broad primary prevention strategy, and extensive health check-ups programme, which is the cornerstone of Japan's secondary prevention strategy. The review also examines Japan's exposure to public health emergencies, and capacity to respond to emergencies as and when they occur.



Health check-ups in Japan

In recent decades, Japan has increased its reliance on health check-ups and tries to improve population health through early detection of diseases. Based on health check-up results, Japan also aims to promote individual’s effort to manage their own health condition by preventing the onset or severity of diseases through better lifestyles. Now, routine health check-ups are available to almost all segments of population throughout their life course. These secondary prevention strategies are unique in the OECD and their impact is not well understood partly due to its health information system. Considering the tight fiscal situation which is likely to continue due to population ageing, Japan needs to review its secondary prevention strategies and focus on developing and implementing effective and economically sound secondary prevention policies.


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