Japan’s national health insurance only covers actual treatment, and not preventative treatment. If you have a health check-up without reason, you will be responsible for 100% of the fee.
However, because of their importance in maintaining a healthy populace, free or low-cost checkups are regularly offered to citizens by local governments.
A yearly medical check-up is called 健康診断 （kenkou shindan） in Japanese. If you are employed by a company, the company must bear the cost of a regular medical check-up for you. If you are not employed, you will be sent a voucher in the mail from your local municipal hall. You can set up an appointment from a list of hospitals, or you may be assigned a certain hospital.
During the checkup, you will usually undergo the following:
- Fill out a medical questionnaire about your general health
- Measurement of height, weight, waist, eyesight, and hearing
- Chest x-ray
- Blood pressure
- Urine test
- Blood test （checks for anemia, cholesterol levels, blood glucose, and more）
- Final meeting with a doctor
Aside from general check-ups, there are also periodic check-ups for tuberculosis, stomach cancer, lung cancer, uterine/ovarian cancer, and breast cancer. If you are above a certain age threshold you will be able to get tested for these. （Differs depending on municipality）
If you don’t want to wait for your yearly check-up or if you would like more comprehensive testing, you can look into a check-up called the Ningen Dock. This is full body testing that takes place over the course of a day or up to a week. A fully voluntary check-up, a ningen dock can detect many illnesses in their early stages so that you can quickly treat them. However, ningen dock examinations are not covered at all by national health insurance. You are responsible for 100% of the cost. However, some private insurance companies cover some of these costs.
Public Health Centers
The Public Health Centers in Iwate give out free HIV tests along with mental health counseling, hereditary disease testing, and much more. They exist to maintain the health of people in the region, so give them a visit to see if they can help you.
To find public health centers in Iwate, please click here.
To see a map, please click here.
Japan has a reputation for being an extremely healthy country but high blood pressure, diabetes, and cancer still occurs here, just like everywhere else in the world. Everyone has different needs, but if you can:
- Try to eat a healthy diet. Japan is famous for its healthy food, but fried food, sweets, and alcohol are all very popular here!
- Get plenty of rest every night.
- Exercise a few times a week.
- Be mindful of culture shock, seasonal depression, and isolation. It can be hard living in a foreign country far away from your birthplace, so always make your mental health a priority.
Office of International Affairs, Department of Homeland Promotion
(020-8570) 10-1 Uchimaru, Morioka City, Iwate Prefecture, JAPAN
Phone number:019-629-5765 Facsimile:019-629-5254
You can access our question form here.