Questions frequently asked by international patients and their families.
Q. I don’t speak Japanese at all. Can I still get treatment at a Japanese medical institution?
A. Yes. Medical Access Japan offers interpreting in a variety of languages, including English, Chinese, and Russian. We can provide interpreting while you are being seen at the medical institution, and we can meet you and send you off at the airport and help you get to your accommodations. In addition, once you arrive in Japan, you will have access to our call center service (English, Chinese, and Russian only), 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Start by inquiring with Medical Access Japan, either through our Inquiry form or by telephone.
(Reference: International Coordination Services)
Q. I worry about living in Japan while undergoing treatment.
A. Medical Access Japan provides a range of living support services. You will be able to stay in Japan worry-free, even if you speak no Japanese or have never traveled abroad before. We can arrange for lodging and even tours if you wish. In the roughly four years since we began offering our services, more than 700 patients from 44 countries have come to Japan through our company. You can be confident that we can provide the same services for you.
(Reference: Arrangements from coming to Japan until returning home)
Q. My religion has certain dietary rules. Will the hospital and hotel be able to accommodate me?
A. Medical Access Japan makes every effort to ensure that differences of religion, belief, culture and the like never cause a problem while you are in Japan. In particular, we work with medical institutions and accommodation facilities to make all possible food adjustments. In the past we have served Muslim and Jain patients, who were able to live in Japan with no problem. Please consult Medical Access Japan about this prior to coming to Japan.
Q. Can I only get treatment at certain medical institutions?
A. Basically, you are free to receive treatment at any medical institution in Japan as long as that institution decides it can accept you.
(Reference: Consultations on selecting medical institutions)
Q. I have already decided the hospital where I want to be seen. Is that acceptable?
A. If you have already decided the medical institution you wish to use, let Medical Access Japan know first. We will make arrangements so that you can be seen there.
(Reference: Consultations on selecting medical institutions)
Q. What do I need to do to apply for Medical Access Japan services?
A. Start by contacting Medical Access Japan, either through our Inquiry form or by telephone. We will send you the forms to enter basic patient information. We will also send you information about our services.
Q. How do I find out if I can get treated in Japan?
A. First, you send us your basic patient information as well as up-to-date medical information (documentation from your main physician describing your diagnosis, test results and diagnostic images, such as CT scans). Our company then contacts a consulting physician or a medical institution specializing in treatment of your condition to determine if treatment is possible. Depending on the doctor’s opinion, it may not be possible to provide treatment in Japan.
Q. Is it possible to get a second opinion from a Japanese medical institution without actually going to Japan?
A. Yes. Medical Access Japan will seek a second opinion on your behalf, then translate and send the results to you. Start by contacting Medical Access Japan, either through our Inquiry form or by telephone.
Q. How much do your services cost?
A. There are primarily three costs involved when you use Medical Access Japan services: the cost of treatment, which is paid to the medical institution; Medical Access Japan’s service fee; and travel and accommodation costs. Your total cost will vary depending on the type of treatment and your personal wishes, so start by contacting Medical Access Japan, either through our Inquiry form or by telephone. We will prepare an estimate once you have provided us with your information and wishes.
Q. How do I pay?
A. Fees must be paid in advance. Prior to your arrival in Japan, you will pay the total of treatment costs, service fee, and so on by transfer to our bank account. We then take care of payments within Japan, such as the cost of treatment. When treatment is finished, we will settle any differences and refund any overpayment.
(Reference: Payment representation service)
Q. What is a Visa for Medical Stay?
A. A Visa for Medical Stay is a visa issued to foreign patients wishing to visit Japan for medical treatment (including full medical check-ups) and to the people accompanying them.
To learn more about the period of stay and how to apply for a visa, see the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Q. How do I apply for a Visa for Medical Stay?
A. Start by contacting a guarantor registered with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. To apply for a Visa for Medical Stay, you will need a “Certificate from a medical institution about the planned medical services, and references from a guarantor.”
In February 2011, we registered as the first Visa for Medical Stay guarantor (registered healthcare coordinator, etc.). Since then, we have provided many identification references.
See the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for a list of guarantors and how to apply for a visa.
Q. Will I necessarily get a Visa for Medical Stay if I apply with Medical Access Japan?
A. The “guarantee” provided by any guarantor is only a guarantee of the identity of the visa applicant (the foreign patient and people accompanying him or her). We cannot guarantee that you will be issued a visa.
(Reference: Support for obtaining medical visas)
Q. I have friends in Japan. Could I ask a friend to provide interpretation while the doctor sees me?
A. Medical Access Japan recommends that foreign patients use our medical interpreting service to ensure appropriate treatment. Medical interpreting requires more than language skills. The interpreter must be knowledgeable about the state of medicine both in Japan and in the patient’s country. Many problems have been reported that resulted from the use of a local friend or other person who was not a professional medical interpreter. For example:
・Misinterpretation of medical terms
・Interpreter simply omits medical terms he/she does not understand
・Interpretation even of non-medical terms is filled with strange mistakes
・Interpreter does not interpret test results that are unfavorable for the patient
・Interpreter unable to explain medical treatment consent form
・Doctor unable to check for past illnesses
For an estimate of medical interpreting fees, contact Medical Access Japan through our Inquiry form or by telephone.
(Reference: Interpreters / Translators)
Q. What is medical care in Japan like?
A. See our page Features of Medical Care in Japan.
In addition, the web site for Medical Excellence JAPAN* has videos and specific examples explaining the features of Japanese medical care.
*Medical Excellence JAPAN is a general incorporated association established in 2011 with the support of the Japanese government. It serves to meet the needs of people outside Japan wishing to receive medical treatment in Japan. Medical Access Japan handles patients who have inquired with Medical Excellence JAPAN.
Q. What is the “Accredited Medical Travel Assistance Company certification”?
A. The “Accredited Medical Travel Assistance Company certification” is a system established by the “Medical Globalization Task Force” in the Headquarters for Healthcare Policy of the Japanese government to develop accredited medical travel companies that are able to provide high-quality support services to international patients to enable them to receive medical care services in Japan in comfort, and to extensively promote these companies both domestically and internationally.
In September 2015, the Emergency Assistance Japan Co., Ltd. was approved as meeting the certification criteria of an “Accredited Medical Travel Assistance Company” and was the first company in Japan to obtain “official certification” from Medical Excellence JAPAN, which is a certifying body of this system.
(Reference: About the “Accredited Medical Travel Assistance Company certification”)