Chinese tourists to Japan transfer from shopping sprees to medical services


A few years ago, Chinese travelers engaged in Bakugan (explosive shopping spree) in Tokyo’s Ginza district made headlines. But that appears to be an issue beyond, as extra Chinese vacationers now seek services and stories particular to Japan. One of the most distinguished fields is scientific offerings. “In latest years, a wider variety of patients come to Japan for remedy and fitness checkups,” said Li Xin, vp of Hibikojyo, a medical provider corporation primarily based in Tokyo that has workplaces in numerous towns in China, such as Beijing and Shanghai. He said this is “because extra hospitals in Japan are equipped to obtain overseas patients and feature loosened the admission criteria,” together with accepting extra intermediate and superior most cancer sufferers.

According to the Foreign Ministry, 70 clinical visas had been issued in 2011, when the government first added the special visa category. By 2018, the range had improved to at least,650, 84 percent of which were for visiting Chinese sufferers. Foreign site visitors entering Japan on tourist visas can also receive clinical offerings, except for lengthy-term therapies or surgeries requiring three months or extra treatment, that are accredited underneath the scientific access. As the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games draw near, the authorities are eyeing to attract 40 million foreign site visitors in subsequent yr.

Suppose Japan achieves that goal, and four percent of them need clinical attention at some point of their go-to. In that case, that might amount to about 1.6 million sufferers, of which approximately 70 percent might be from China, in keeping with the Japan Medical Support System for Visitors from Abroad, a non-public institution presenting fitness care-related aid for foreign sufferers. Jiyugaoka Clinic, a massive cosmetics sanatorium in Tokyo, started to domesticate its international popularity seven years ago, given the gloomy possibilities for a boom in-home patients.


“In 2010, we barely had foreign sufferers,” said Yoshiaki Furuyama, the hospital’s CEO. “Last 12 months, we acquired over 1,200 customers from mainland China.” In a lift to Japan’s scientific establishment, professionals say the USA’s worldwide recognition as a health care provider is at the upward push. According to the Health Care Index for Country 2019 launched by way of the group-sourced global database Number, Japan ranked 1/3 among 84 international locations regarding the average first-rate of its health care gadget, the same old personnel, and prices. China, however, got here 46th within the equal ratings.

Due to choppy local economic improvement, Chinese human beings in inland or rural regions don’t have clean entry to purposeful fitness care offerings. Instead of queuing in front of the overcrowded top hospitals in large towns, prosperous sufferers would rather travel to remote places seeking better hospital therapy. For plenty of Chinese patients, the finest appeal of Japan’s health care and scientific career is its high quality.

Japan ranked the very best in 5-12 months survival costs of lung cancer and esophagus cancer patients from 2010 to 2014 based totally on the facts of 37.5 million patients from seventy-one countries and regions, consistent with a report published through the U.K.-based clinical magazine The Lancet in early 2018, as cited in the Mainichi Shimbun. With the possibility of higher remedy and restoration, the Chinese are inclined to journey the more mile — to Japan.

“We’ve discovered that the proton beam remedy method here is more developed than in China,” said Sun Jing, 36, from the northeastern metropolis of Harbin, who has been escorting her sixty one-yr-antique father for bile duct most cancer treatment at Southern Tohoku General Hospital in Fukushima Prefecture when you consider that January. “The doctors stroll the patient through by supplying factors in each remedy manner, and it has gone smoothly for us so far.” Li of Hibikojyo stated that systematization and the precision of cancer screening checks in Japan are the principal sights of Chinese sufferers. In a few fortunate cases, he introduced, sufferers have detected early-stage cancers for the duration of the exams and have obtained the timely remedy. The well-mannered mindset of scientific employees is likewise a plus.

“When the nurses meet my clients, every so often they kneel because it’s simpler to serve sitting patients,” Li said. “Those sufferers felt overwhelmingly spoiled. They said they couldn’t even imagine it in China.” Zhang Qingqing, a 22-12 months-antique female Chinese scholar, underwent both an eight-hour standard anesthesia surgical treatment and a stitching double-eyelid operation in Kyoto in 2018. “I chose to obtain operations in Japan due to the fact I consider the medical doctors here,” Zhang said. “I knew the whole thing was in accordance to devise and that they have been very accountable.”

Undergoing cosmetic treatment in foreign places, particularly in Japan and South Korea, has emerged as a status symbol for nicely-heeled Chinese of late. While South Korea has become the leading overseas destination for Chinese cosmetic-surgical procedure vacationers, botched strategies and treatment injuries have been highlighted in the media in recent years, prompting extra Chinese patients to return to Japan.

“Doctors in Japan care greater approximately the treatment first-class than the volume of customers,” Naohiko Sakai, a general practitioner at Ginza S Aesthetic and Plastic Surgery Clinic in Tokyo, stated about the developing Chinese clients bound for Japan for plastic surgery. “The techniques and treatment efficacy here are extra reassuring to the one’s sufferers.”

Qu Tuo, president of the Chinese cosmetic surgical treatment agent Amazing Bird, began to come to be an agent for Chinese beauty patients in Tokyo in 2014. At the time, a huge proportion of his clients had skilled failed strategies in South Korea and got here to Japan for remedial remedies. “Those desperate sufferers observed me at that time, coming to me as their ultimate danger,” said Qu. “Last fiscal year finishing in July, we received almost 1,600 clients, 40 percent of whom have been for repair surgical procedures.”

Good things don’t come reasonably priced. In Japan, patients blanketed via the countrywide fitness care machine are the most effective response for basically 30 percent of the real clinical prices. On the other hand, foreign clinical vacationers must pay the full quantity. According to Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry tips tips, hospitals may additionally fee overseas patients for added prices such as for services and documentation fees.

“The scientific charges for worldwide patients are frequently double or triple the Japanese patients’ full charges,” Li said. This is probably because hospitals don’t want their confined assets stretched by foreigners, stated Toshiki Mano, a professor at Chuo University who is an expert on medical tourism. “It’s additionally the case that they require extra paintings” administratively, in comparison to Japanese sufferers, he stated.

Owing to the language barrier, many remote places sufferers visiting Japan tend to acquire an intermediary agency’s “one-bundle offerings,” which commonly encompass transportation, interpretation, and escorting costs that also upload to the invoice. According to the latest article in the National News Daily, a monetary newspaper in China, the average spending on most cancer treatment in Japan is expected to be between $50,000 (¥five.47 million) to $100,000, triple the cost in China.