TOKYO – In a bid to nurture the domestic medical industry as the nation’s next growth engine, Japan is planning to export health care services to emerging nations, with a focus on Southeast Asia.
The plan would see Japan export elements of its medical care system, including drugs and medical equipment, to a number of emerging nations. To do so, the government aims to build infrastructure that encourages cooperation between the public and private sectors.
The government is especially focused on efforts to expand medical equipment exports. As Japan establishes more overseas medical business, opportunities to sell medical equipment made in Japan also will increase.
In 2011, imports of medical equipment exceeded that of exports by $97 billion.
Demand for advanced medical services is increasing among emerging nations due to slow progress in the fight against diseases such as tuberculosis and malaria. Because Japanese medical firms must compete with more established competitors from other developed nations, the government also plans to provide know-how in constructing hospitals, as well as the export of medical devices, drugs and insurance based on the Japanese system.
A new private organization will be set up to work with the government to devise strategies. Meanwhile, the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry plans to establish a new office to handle international expansion strategies.
For its part, the government will provide more opportunities for medical workers from emerging nations to familiarize themselves with the Japanese medical system and equipment to expand export opportunities.
It also plans to set up exchanges for medical staff, including doctors and nurses, as a form of development assistance to create training opportunities at home and abroad.
Financially, the government will seek to improve support from the Japan Bank for International Cooperation and consider cooperating with the World Health Organization.