Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare


Health Policy Bureau

Thinks of Medical Services for Tomorrow

The bureau plans and proposes policies for the realization of a high-quality, effective system for offering medical services in the 21st century, in response to the aging of the society in recent years, changes in the disease structure and stronger people's demands for medical services of higher quality.

Medical Policies for the New Century

Every one of us hopes for the realization of a medical system where we can receive high-quality medical services without anxieties whenever we are ill or injured.
The medical system in Japan is at the world's highest level in terms of the average life expectancy, death rates of infants and small children, etc. At the same time, it is faced with some problems including the small number of medical professionals (doctors, nurses, etc.) per bed and the larger average number of hospitalized days. It is our important task to establish a quality system to offer medical services that are at a level comparable to Japan's economic and living standards.
In light of the above, efforts are being made for drastic reforms of various elements around medical services, aiming to realize "high-quality" "efficient" medical services for the new century.

Improves "Human Resources" and "Facilities" to Support Medical Services

The bureau is endeavoring to improve both "human resources" (doctors, nurses, etc.) and "facilities" (hospitals, etc.), which are the base for the promotion of medical policies.
"Human resources" who actually offer medical services are being increased in the number. In addition, the bureau is striving to secure quality human resources who are competent to take charge of people's health and lives, reviewing the training methods for medical professionals.
As for medical facilities including hospitals, the improvement of regional medical organizations including those in remote rural areas and solitary islands and the securing of emergency medical services are promoted.

Realizes the Offering of Medical Services Required by the Nationals

The progress of informatization has resulted in increased needs by people for information on medical services. In response to this, the bureau diffuses and spreads the ideas of informed consent, or efforts to obtain understanding of patients through giving appropriate explanation in providing medical services. Thus, it aims to realize a system for providing medical services based upon the trust between patients and medical professionals.
The bureau also promotes the disclosure of information necessary for patients' selection of medical institutions, through supporting the evaluation by third-party organizations of functions of hospitals.
Additionally, the bureau strives for the prevention of medical accidents that would affect the patients' lives, by giving directions to medical institutions, etc.

Promotes Drug/Medical Equipment Industries to Support Future Medical Services

The advancement and specialization of medical services have enabled us to overcome some diseases that had been thought incurable, while resulting in the development of new technologies to minimize the pains upon patients (including the development of order-made medical services reflecting results of the latest analyses of human genome).
The ministry strives to support these new medical technologies and promote the development of the drug and medical equipment industries in light of international competition, while implementing measures including the establishment of a system applying information processing and communication technologies that have shown marked progress in recent years.