Japan celebrated the 50th anniversary of its compulsory health insurance policy in 2011. All residents are required by law to have health insurance coverage, either through their employer or via the government National Health Insurance (NHI) system.
The scheme is funded through taxation and individual contributions (premiums), and the patient must pay 30% of the costs. Diverse public social welfare programmes and public medical assistance schemes supplement medical expenses for those who cannot afford it, although there is a complicated and bureaucratic review process.
The Government regulates medical fees strictly to keep them affordable. However, with a rising ageing population and low birth rates, challenges persist in coordinating elderly care and sustaining the system.