Government to freeze controversial medical fee for pregnant women, Japan's health minister says
Japan Times -- Dec 15
The government will temporarily suspend an extra medical fee that pregnant women were required to pay out of pocket to see doctors, health minister Takumi Nemoto said Friday.

The ministry plans to inform medical institutions of the suspension as soon as possible, probably in January, after gaining endorsements by representatives of doctors and others at a meeting of the Central Social Insurance Medical Council, an advisory panel to the health minister, that will be held this month.

The extra-fee system was introduced in April with the aim of making medical institutions take extra care in treating pregnant women. The government has said the additional fees are necessary to fund “special prescriptions” that do not affect pregnancies, unlike ordinary, cheaper prescriptions that can be used for those who are not pregnant.

But the system has faced criticism as pregnant women were asked to pay extra money even when consulting an eye doctor to get contact lenses, which is unrelated to pregnancy.

At a news conference, Nemoto explained that the fee was meant to help improve medical examinations for pregnant women so that they could get medical services without worry.

News source: Japan Times
Mar 23
A key part of the business model for convenience stores is their round-the-clock service. But a shortage of staffers is prompting some operators to consider shrinking their business hours. (NHK)
Mar 23
A member of a sister group of the popular all-girl band AKB48 on Friday criticized the outcome of a probe into an assault against her as "lies," as the group's management company revealed the result. (Japan Today)
Mar 23
The number of foreign residents in Japan had risen 6.6 percent at the end of 2018 from a year earlier, to reach a record high of some 2.73 million, Justice Ministry data showed on Friday. (Japan Times)
Mar 23
Companies recruiting technology majors from Japanese universities are bracing for another year of missed targets as the supply of graduates fails to keep pace with broad demand for such skills as AI engineering and data analysis. (Nikkei)
Mar 23
Princess Kako, the 24-year-old granddaughter of Emperor Akihito, expressed her wish for her sister's happiness in a written answer to the media on the occasion of her graduation from International Christian University in Tokyo on Friday. (Kyodo)
Mar 22
Rarely a week passes without hearing about a new type of robot created in Japan. Every other country of the world is wondering how Japan has managed to become a leading technological power. (newsonjapan.com)
Mar 22
The cherry blossom season officially arrived in Tokyo on Thursday after officials from the Meteorological Agency confirmed that more than five blossoms had opened on a Somei-Yoshino cherry tree at Yasukuni Shrine in Chiyoda Ward. (Japan Times)
Mar 22
Japanese baseball legend Ichiro Suzuki of the US Major Leagues' Seattle Mariners has announced his retirement. (NHK)
Mar 22
Last year proved to be a pivotal one for streaming music in Japan. According to a report by the Recording Industry Association of Japan, 2018 saw plays via platforms such as YouTube, Apple Music and Spotify overtake digital downloads. (Japan Times)
Mar 21
Cherry trees came into bloom Wednesday in the southwestern prefecture of Nagasaki, the first blooming of the "Somei Yoshino" variety in Japan this spring, according to the Japan Meteorological Agency. (Japan Today)