Health Insurance in Japan

What You Need to Know About Health Insurance in Japan.

Health Insurance in Japan : Healthcare in Japan is an extremely complex issue. With a national healthcare system that has been in place for decades, it has been difficult to reform the system without significant changes to the existing model. This article seeks to provide a brief overview of what you need to know about health insurance in Japan while living and studying abroad.

Health Insurance in Japan

Healthcare in Japan is a uniquely Japanese experience, so this guide cannot apply to any other country. The majority of insurance policies will be work-based (from your employer), but you might also want to look into private options like getting insured through your school or buying an international travel policy.

Health Insurance in Japan

In Japan, you need to obtain a Japanese National Health Insurance Card (Kokumin Kenkou Hoken Shoumei Sho). You can obtain this at your local municipal office. The card is not transferable and should not be shared with other people. If you are a full-time student, your school will most likely take care of the process for you if they have a health insurance policy.

If you are working in Japan, you’ll likely receive company health insurance as part of your employment package. Employers pay a certain percentage of the cost for each employee’s healthcare coverage. In general, the higher one’s income is relative to their age, the more expensive it becomes to obtain health insurance from their employer. This means that if someone is employed by a large corporation or has a high-level position, they will have less expensive insurance than someone who is younger and earns an entry-level salary.

Health Insurance Through Your School

If you’re enrolled in a program that is more than nine months long, chances are that your school will offer health coverage to students. This means that if you want to get insured with your school, all you need is a valid student ID card and your passport.

Private Options of Japanese Health Insurance

Private options of Japanese health insurance include:

-School insurance: If you are a student and your school offers international student health insurance, this might be an option for you.

-International travel policy: Some people take out international travel insurance, which may or may not cover their medical expenses abroad. These policies will vary in price and will typically offer different levels of coverage.

-Private health insurance: The easiest way to get the most comprehensive coverage is to go with a private company. Premiums will vary depending on your age, gender, and location; they can range from $200-$1000 per year. Private insurers in Japan include Nippon Life Insurance and Dai-ichi Mutual Life Insurance Company (Dai-ichi Seimei).


Japan is not like the United States. There is no socialized medicine, so you are responsible for your own healthcare. Luckily, there are several options for you to choose from. It can be hard to navigate the system, so don’t be afraid to ask for help.

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