Bad Bad Medicine: Doctors in Japan

Japanese Doctors - A Class of their ownWe have explored on stippy how interesting it can be to call an ambulance in Japan, but have you ever had one of those crazy “only in Japan” experiences at the hospital?

Just the week before last I was hit with a mysterious sort of virus that had gone through our office. I battled through a few tough days at work and only on Saturday when the headache was so bad that my eyeballs hurt to move them, did I head to the doctor. My wife recommended a doctor very near our house as they have a naika (内科, the closest thing to a GP, which don’t really exist in Japan, because patients have to refer themselves to a specialist) unit that seemed appropriate. So off I went thinking the hurting eyes may have been related to my wicked hay fever and constant use of nose sprays.

After a fairly long wait with all the sick oldies and runny nosed kids, I was taken through to see the Doc. I had filled out the paperwork explaining what was wrong with me and had the hay fever medication with me. The Doctor didn’t seem to take much interest in my explanation or the hay fever stuff and just asked me if my stomach hurt, if my throat hurt, if my head hurt and got me to poke my tongue out and say “ahh”. With my answers of “no”, “no”, “yes” and “ahhh”, he confirmed, “well it is not a cold”, and proceeded to write out a prescription for pain killers, adding that if it got worse I should go see a specialist at the big hospital down the road. The whole visit took around 30 minutes of which a whopping 2-3 minutes was in the actual Doctor’s office getting checked.

I threw his prescription in the rubbish and stuck with my trusty Bufferin, letting my wife “have it” with a morning of complaints about what a complete waste the stupidly expensive health insurance that we pay is. A whopping chunk of change goes out every month to cover the kids and her. I pretty much never see a Doctor unless the proverbial hits the fan health wise and my little morning trip highlighted just how wasteful this was.

My Doctor in JapanIn fact the only other Doctor experiences I have had in my neighbourhood have been so bad they border on ridiculous. I was told to have an X-Ray for what was a spider bite a few years ago. Also, last year I got an ear infection while in Thailand that necessitated me to stay in Bangkok for 5 days as flying could have ruptured my ear drum. The infection came from the bad water going up my nose apparently and I was in a weakened state after eating not only one but two mostly raw pork steaks at the buffet. My bad, as it was dark and it was a wedding, so I stupidly mistook the piggy for moo cow. Anyway, if I thought the experience in the Thai hospitals was trippy, things got worse back in Japan.

The upshot was that nothing the Thai doctors gave me worked. They actually made me sicker as one of the quacks gave me one medication that reacted with the other. Once home, I headed down to the trusty Akasaka clinic (run by a “real” gaijin doctor) and explained the situation. Like the doctors in Bangkok, Doctor Jerry said the ear was perfectly clean but swelling in the middle ear was causing the pain. Things were bad and he prescribed some antibiotics and pain killers (very much needed). I came back every few days and he had to give me a few different treatments as the infection was not yet abating. After 3 weeks of being extremely grumpy to the crew at the office and in a lot of pain, I succumbed to the pressure of my mother in law and went down to the local Ear-Nose-Throat specialist or Jibika (耳鼻科). Much the same as my ‘flu experience the other day, I filled out the forms, explaining what I had, how long I had it and that I was on some serious medication, taking it with me. I also told them that I had been to three or four other doctors who all said that it my ear was “infected”.

Japanese Doctors - A Class of their ownThey ignored all that and lay me down on a bed to inspect the ear. A few rudimentary pokes in the ear and the doctor said he couldn’t see anything so he would have to do some cleaning. I thought this didn’t sound right but within a flash he was jamming some suction device into the already painful ear and trying to suck out whatever he thought was blocking his view. Of course this suction device, like the ones you have at the dentist to suck out excess saliva, latched on to the swollen bits and the nerves in my ear just screamed! My natural reaction was to swing my arm and get the guy off me, yelling in Japanese that it was not a dirty ear (!!!!) and that three other doctors said it was swollen (中耳炎ではれている!). He calmed me down, explained that everything was going to be okay, and proceeded to put that torture device back in my ear. I again pushed him off and kicked out in agony. Incredibly, next he called over 3-4 nurses to hold my legs and arms. I was lying there in intense agony and actually started laughing as the whole situation seemed so absurd. There were a whole load of patients just sitting there in silence as if nothing funny was happening at all. Most were elderly folks who all ignored the gaijin. To them it was probably a case of silly gaijin man not following the rules. The ones that say you should ignore intense pain and do whatever the good doctor says. Whilst flailing about, I was also trying desperately to control myself so I did not end up accidentally hurting the lunatic holding the suction device.

I did get him to stop and I left in a comical state of mind both cursing and laughing at the same time. I bumped into my mother in law as she was visiting our house and I let her “have it” with what I thought of her “Jibika”. At a lunch meeting with the bosses that day, I felt a liquid dribbling down my neck from my ear and realized it was that clear sort of blood that you get in cuts and the like. I pulled the cotton wool out my ear and poked my finger in to find that the wad thing (like a tampon) was completely soaked in blood and I pulled it out in a kind of state of semi-shock. Disgustingly I admit, I put it on the empty dessert plate, kind of wondering what was going on. Kind of funny, though gross, as my boss freaked out thinking it was actually ear or brain tissue. I headed straight back to Doctor Jerry and explained the situation. The suction treatment had of course torn the membrane on the swelling and all the blood, pus and the like was leaking out. Lovely. Charming smell too.

Anyway, the painful suction treatment sped up the process of getting the swelling down but potentially would leave a scar that could mildly effect my hearing in future. It didn’t in the end but the experience was mind blowing. Unbelievable. Unlike the Jibika, Doctor Jerry was extremely professional and I would highly recommend him. My bad for taking the advice of the mother in law. Damn it. Never again. Her “Jibika” dished out some bad, bad medicine.

Does anyone have a good story to tell about visiting a Japanese doctor?

55 thoughts on “Bad Bad Medicine: Doctors in Japan”

  1. A few funny, yet scary memories – the first was in a hospital on Sakaide, Kagawa on Shikoku when a dopy friend of mine had to get some stitches after slicing his finger open. I remember going into the old hospital – people everywhere, dirty floor, exposed rusty pipes. Then, several people wheeled a rickety hospital bed through. One of the orderlies (perhaps he was the doctor) pushing the bed had a blood-stained lab coat on and a lit cigarette hanging out of his mouth. Thankfully, I was not to be the patient that day.

    Later, when I was living in Hiroshima, I had a problem with one of my eyes – I think the problem was conjunctivitis, though I can’t be sure. Anyway, I went to the doctor to figure out the problem and hopefully get some appropriate medicine. Well, I remember sitting in a room with cloth partitions. The patients circled through one after the other. When it was my turn, the doctor wheeled his stool up to me and, without washing his hands or using gloves, started poking at my eye. I don’t recall what he prescribed or told me. But I do remember being mortified when the next patient came in as I was leaving and, again, without washing his hands after touching my infected eye, he starting prodding the next patient.

    Perhaps my funniest hospital memory was in Tsuyama, Okayama. I had a small cyst in my foot that I had to have removed. The doctor used local anesthetic before removing the cyst. No problem with the procedure. But how funny for me, a 20-year-old Mormon missionary at the time, lying there on the table while the doctor’s finest dozen nurses and assistants did there best to comfort me. I still can’t figure out why there were so many of them – maybe they had never seen a gaijin’s toe before.

  2. oooo that was gross…

    My most disturbing story happened to the wife of a good buddy of mine and it would take a few pages to explain…but to keep it quick

    His wife came down with an odd fever and was sent home from the first doc with the standard stomach medicine and pain killers only to end up back in intensive care 24hours later and diagnosed with meningitis! OK the first doc missed that. After a week long lengthy life n death struggle which she was now winning the new doc gave her a different medication. within 12 hours she went back into deep coma and upon waking a few weeks later was paralyzed. The doctor had given her the wrong drug, a drug that is banned in the US (where her husband is from) .

    That was about 5 years ago and a year later after continual battles with hospital admin and draining legal battles she checked in to a London rehab clinic and although had improved she did not fully regain mobility.

    I lost contact with him after a computer glitch wiped my email addresses but I’m still wondering to this day if she is ok and hoping that she has fully recovered. This was too brief a summary as it was an amazing story of courage on this newly married couples behalf.

    Medical mishaps happen everywhere so maybe its not fair to blame the country …this huge f*** up was in Tokyo.

  3. This will be long, so please forgive me…

    You know that section on medical forms where they ask whether you wish to be informed if you have a terminal condition? Since I thought I did wish to know such things, I always made sure to indicate so on my forms.

    To help a local university with a research project, I volunteered to undergo a series of tests at a local hospital. Filled out all the requisite forms without problem, went through all the procedures, and then a few weeks later, out of curiousity, I called the university team to ask how the results came out. They told me I was in excellent health.

    I gave my wife the good news that she had married a perfect physical specimen, a veritable Greek god, but she didn’t quite appreciate the humor. And come to think of it, she really hadn’t been herself for a couple of weeks. Although she’d always been a wonderfully warm person, she seemed unusually attentive. She kept asking if she could do anything special for me; she kept insisting on making all my favorite meals, even though I usually did our cooking; she suggested that we should take a trip and visit my family, then go to some nice place on vacation, but she knew I was very busy with work and that it would have been a terrible time to take off; etc. I figured it was some sort of motherly instinct kicking in, her way of hinting to me that we should focus on expanding our family beyond just ourselves. But when we made love, which was getting to be often enough that it was almost too much even for a god like me, she’d cry afterward… and it didn’t seem to be a “Wow, that was the most amazing experience of my life!” kind of crying. Finally I got her to confess what was on her mind, and that’s when I learned that I had inoperable cancer.

    So much for forms. The university, the hospital and my own wife all ignored my request to be notified about any serious problems, instead preferring to let me die in true Japanese fashion. And to tell the truth, maybe that’s not so bad when there’s no help to be had. But now that the cat was out of the bag my American instincts took over and I immediately got on the phone to the university, wanting more information. At first they lied and tried to give me the “excellent health” bit again, but when I said that my wife had told me the truth they opened up and went into detail about the diagnosis. Honestly, I didn’t understand half of what they told me, and really all I could think about anyway was, “If they’re right, then I’m going to die.” I asked, “Are you sure? Did several doctors check the results of the tests?” And they assured me that, yes, several experts had reviewed the tests and there could be no mistake. They said they were sorry that the cancer was at too far advanced a stage to operate or to treat with other procedures. They could prescribe painkillers and sedatives if I began to suffer, but otherwise that was it.

    And so I began to prepare, both mentally and logistically, to die. Thankfully I’d already made some good financial decisions, so I wasn’t worried about my wife in that respect, and besides which she came from a family that had been fairly successful in business. Being young, though, I could barely wrap my head around the idea that I could have cancer and death was imminent. Although I knew cancer could strike people at any age, even in childhood, and that sometimes it just couldn’t be effectively treated, I still felt that it was far too soon for me to go. We hadn’t been married that long, and there had been so many things we’d never had time for. I knew my wife wanted kids, and she seemed all the more determined to become pregnant now that our time together was to be so short.

    Then just a week after I got that horrible news, I felt a terrible pain in my chest and began coughing up blood. I figured it was the end for me. My father-in-law took me to a hospital emergency room, and all sorts of doctors and nurses began rushing about trying to figure out what was going on and to save me if they could… until my father-in-law let them know I was dying of cancer, whereupon they all abandoned me to die alone, coughing up blood and fluid onto myself and the floor. My wife and her family didn’t even come in to be with me in my last moments. Great bedside manner, people! In between coughing fits, I tried to comfort myself, “Well, I don’t want my wife to see me like this anyway… it’s better this way,” but damn it, couldn’t the doctors at least have turned out the bright light above me? Or was that THE light I was seeing? I focused on the light, waiting for it to come down closer or to feel myself being pulled up toward it, or to hear some voice calling me home, but it was just so bright that it gave me a terrible headache and I turned away from it, closing my eyes and letting go….

    And woke up the next day, clean and in a room with a much more bearable light. A nurse came in and told me I had pneumonia and would be okay. They were going to send me home with some medicine in a few minutes.

    “Huh? But what about the cancer?”

    “You’re fine. You don’t have cancer.”

    Here we go again… they don’t want me to know I’m dying, even though I already know.

    My wife met me and we drove home, and I asked her, “What did they say?”

    “You’re fine. You don’t have cancer.”

    “Right…”

    “No, really. You’re fine. Well, except for the pneumonia.”

    “Sure….”

    “Really! You’re fine, okay? The hospital checked you out thoroughly. The university just made a mistake. They mixed up your test results with someone else’s.”

    “Okay, if you say so…”

    I didn’t believe her, but I appreciated that she was trying to get my mind off death.

    “Oh, and I was going to keep this a secret, but…”

    “What?”

    “We’re going to have a baby!”

    ——————————————————————–

    Though she didn’t understand, maybe you can appreciate why I bought an American brand pregnancy test and made her check again. And why, after it was confirmed, I insisted that we find a non-Japanese doctor to look after her during her pregnancy.

  4. Funny story and some funny (disturbing) comments. I have a friend who had a scary “mixed up results” situation for a VD a while back. Don’t recall the exact details but pretty scary that this seems to happen regularly. Best hospital I have been to: Tokyo University Hospital in Hongo, Tokyo. The International Clinic with old Doctor Shane (must be going on around 80 by now) and the Russian guy and even the British Clinic are not so bad either, though expensive (best if you are on a good international insurance plan).

  5. sorry to burst your bublwe but that first comment I made was courteousy of an unnamed but well reputed International hospital in central tokyo

  6. True, terrible things happen everywhere, with doctors from anywhere. But in a country where doctors aren’t expected to tell the truth, where hospitals will turn away dying patients when they’re full (how can they be full so often when they kick people out so quickly?), where there is very little accountability for gross malpractice, where the average citizen never questions the quality of care provided, it’s only natural that crazy, sickening, terrible, preventable tragedies are going to happen alarmingly often. At least in my home country, which also has terrible medical care that needs serious improving, I can usually expect that emergency room doctors will *try* to save my life, regardless of whether the hospital is busy or a relative informs them I have a terminal illness. I’m pretty certain the only reason the doctors in Iwate eventually checked me out was to figure out why I wasn’t dying fast enough so they could get me out of there. Fortunately things worked out in my case, but I hate to think that they may have been turning away someone else who needed immediate care while they investigated my failure to die in a timely manner. Honestly, it’s incredible that Japanese have the life expectancy that they do. Imagine what it would be if the doctors actually tried to keep people alive…

  7. Well, talking about bad medicine in Japan… I had a large swelling in my armpit, and knowing that that was where your lymph nodes are I knew something bad was going on. I went to see a doctor at a hospital in Kyoto, recommended by my foreign exchange student tutor for being a “gaijin” hospital. Of course I was the only gaikokujin there. After drawing a circle around the armpit of a drawing of a man, the doctor poked my swelling a few times, and told me it was nothing, just a fat/liquid swelling that would go away by itself. I was not satisfied and went to another doctor at another hospital where they told me the exact same thing.
    Knowing full well that something was wrong, I just accepted the fact that they would not give me a proper diagnosis in Japan and just decided to wait with going to a doctor until I got back to the Netherlands, which was then still 2 months away.
    When I got back to the Netherlands and went to a GP, he immediately said “this is NOT nothing”, I was sent to a hospital, and was diagnosed with an advanced stage of non-hodgkin lymphoma, lymph node cancer.
    I think I know why people are always saying that eating fish is good if you don’t want to get cancer: ‘Just look at the Japanese! They eat fish and their cancer rate is ridiculously low!’; they just don’t diagnose it.

  8. Reading what I wrote earlier, I realize I may come across as being anti-Japan or anti-Japanese. I’m not. I’m just anti Japanese medicine. One time my father-in-law, who has a history of heart problems, was having chest pain and his left arm went numb, so his brother rushed him to the nearest hospital, where he was told it was just a case of indigestion and given an antacid. He was perfectly willing to accept that diagnosis, but his brother hauled him off to another hospital, where two doctors, after first stating that it probably was indigestion if the other hospital had said so, took a closer look at him and thankfully decided to treat his heart attack.

    I think some of this stuff stems from a general Japanese aversion toward invasive procedures. Doctors seem to interpret “do no harm” as “don’t impose unpleasant news or treatments upon someone.” Maybe they’re not so bad, though. Maybe, when they tell you it’s just tummy trouble and give you an antacid, they’ve secretly laced the antacid with some super powerful medicine to cure what ails you. So you get the medicine you need, you feel relieved since you think the problem wasn’t serious, and the doctors get to avoid the unpleasantness of telling you how bad off you really are.

  9. Five years ago my Japanese mother-in-law went to her doctor because she was feeling numbness in the left side of her body. He told her it was because she had taken cold medicine she bought in Hawaii and told her not to worry about it and not to put off attending a social appointment she had for later that day. Later the next night my father in law called us and said okaasan couldn’t move that side of her body anymore and asked us what he thought we should do. We said he should take her to a hospital immediately.
    Unsuprisingly, it turns out she had had a stroke. She then proceeded to spend the next 6 months in the hospital and then a rehab center regaining the ability to walk and use her left arm and hand. My pessimistic father in law also spent that next year saying she would probably have another stroke and die within a year since that’s what usually happens after a stroke. Fortunately, she has recovered quite well, but I wish she would have gotten treatment earlier and avoided all the hospitalization and rehab.
    I always thought they should have sued the hell out of the original doctor and hospital because of the grossly negligent misdiagnosis, but I don’t know if they ever even informed him.

  10. Hmm, no edit button here.
    Of course what I meant was, “Later the next night my father in law called us and said okaasan couldn’t move that side of her body anymore and asked us what _we_ thought _he_ should do.

  11. All these horror stories make me wonder a) how these doctors get their licenses b) how do manage to keep their licences with their absurd antics. I would add a ‘c) Why doesn’t anyone complain’ but then this is Japan…

  12. Since I plan on visiting Japan in the not too distant future, this story was very alarming to me.

    Assuming that this anecdotal evidence does not simply represent statistical outlying phenomena, I have to wonder why a technologically and socially advanced country like Japan would tolerate such poor medical practices. Certainly the Japanese people care about the lives and health of their friends and family members at least as much as people in other countries.

    One might imagine that perhaps there was a social reaction to population density, the idea that since there are so many people in such a small landmass, preserving the health of any individual is not quite so beneficial. However, this seems fanciful (if not outright ridiculous), and I have read nothing to support it.

    One might also imagine that some cultural fatalism (possibly based in the various Eastern religions permeating Japanese society) might be to blame. If life were regarded as merely a brief, painful step as a matter of course, then health might not seem a high priority. Again, though, I see little evidence for this. Plenty of Christians in the U.S. espouse the notion of a glorious afterlife, but this does not necessarily cause them to eschew the best medical treatment possible.

    In the main article, I notice that the author refers to an assumption of obedience from patients in Japan. My reading suggests that the Japanese people do indeed value obedience to authority highly, perhaps more so than in Western countries. If this hypothetical obedience somehow prevented them from offering feedback to their doctors — that is, complaining or filing malpractice suits, as in the U.S. — perhaps the doctors would be less motivated towards quality control.

    Human beings in general tend to exert themselves only as much as they feel required to do so. This might be extrapolated to suggest that a medical system would only maintain a level of standards based on social pressure. My reading certainly suggests that Japanese culture discourages negative displays of any sort, and those types of behavior might be just the sort of thing that Westerners would regard as honest feedback.

    I wonder, then, if the Japanese medical system is less than exemplary, might it be because the Japanese people don’t wish to act so impolitely as to trouble their doctors into improving medical care?

  13. When I lived in Japan I required medical treatment on three occasions. I am pleased to report that in each case I received quality treatment at very affordable prices.

    One day I developed a pain in my eye. During the night it became so painful that I couldn’t sleep. (I think it was the most intense pain I have ever experienced.) The next day a co-worker took me to an ophthalmologist in Akasaka. He discovered a metal sliver embedded in my cornea! (My best guess is I picked it up in a subway station.) After numbing my eye with some drops, he took a little scraper and popped it out; instant relief!

    Another incident involved a high-side get-off while riding a motorcycle down a “rindou”, trying to catch up with my Japanese friends (much better riders than me). My knee crashed on the sharp edge of a rock, cutting through the skin nearly to the knee cap. (So lucky that I did not break my kneecap!) More intense pain. Eventually my friends turned back to find me. After tying a bandanna around my knee, I got back on my bike and road out of the forest. Once back to “civilization”, my friends let me around as we tried to find a hospital that was “open” on Sundays! Finally we found one (our third stop) that would take me in. The facility was indeed quite old (I’m glad I didn’t have to be admitted for a stay), but I received some stitches and antibiotics from a (beautiful) doctor. It turned out that her practice was in Shinjuku, but she volunteered to work weekends in the country hospital. I visited her clinic for follow-up the next week, back in Tokyo. The whole hospital experience cost something like 6,800 yen (admission, painkiller shot, sutures, and antibiotics). Amazing!

    Finally, when I developed a skin condition that would not clear up, my Japanese girlfriend took me to see her dermatologist who diagnosed my case of psoriasis and gave me a cream that cleared it up.

    Years later, back in the US, my in-laws came to visit from Japan. My father-in-law had recently seen a specialist to diagnose some sudden dizzy spells. My wife, quite suspicious of Japanese doctors (and fearing that they would not tell her parents if there was indeed a bad diagnosis) asked me to take her father to a specialist here in the US. I took him to a neurologists who reached the same conclusion as the doctor in Japan: my father-in-law would be fine. That was seven years ago and he is still with us!

    In conclusion, although there may indeed be plenty about which to be concerned when receiving medical treatment in Japan, it is not impossible to receive good care.

  14. When my wife was pregnant, she got an infection. The local doctor prescribed antibiotics, and insisted on my wife taking them. She took them, and her condition worsened. She went to another doctor, who yelled at her ( she was 5 months pregnant) that she was killing the baby or making it a stupid one, because of the antibiotics.
    She broke down, explained it was another doctor who had insisted. Hearing it was another japanese doctor who had advised her, the doctor calmed down and told her
    it was ok.
    At the international hospital we went to, to prepare for the birth, her doctor ( head of section who had studied a bit abroad ), never said more than two words to me, after I asked her to confirm the sex of the baby ( it goes against her beliefs ).
    After that, she would usually wait for me to be out of the room before talking to my wife,
    who was still happy with her.
    During the last month, the japanese doctors were unable to understand that the sharp pains my wife was having ( sending her to the ground under the pain ) were the baby trying to go out, but unable to do so ( he is big like me and everybody in my family – amd my wife is small ).
    The doctors insisted on “everything is ok, the baby is super-genki, it is normal to have pains that send you to the ground”. The doctor advised my wife to walk a lot, in the last few weeks, to help relaxing muscles.
    On the due date, my wife was too contracted ( one month of pains..) to give birth, and the doctor told her to wait. We waited two weeks, going every few days to the hospital for false alerts, and being told to walk more and wait.
    After two weeks, I didnt want to have the baby die on us and I insisted on staying at the hospital, and the doctors agreed we had to stay and give birth real soon.
    They still didnot believe the baby was too big to go out, and that a C-section was needed.

    So they tried forcing the contractions for 55 hours. They accepted to give my wife painkillers after 8 hours of complete misery. We were lucky they accepted to give her epidural after 30 hours (after denying they could do it). Every few hours, a nurse will come, look at my wife crying in pains (not enough painkillers), joke saying the baby is super-genki, or mistake her for another patient.
    My japanese wife had a complete trust in her doctor – same for her mother. I spent three days massaging her and trying to convince her that her doctor is nuts, we should go for C-section.
    After so much pain, C-section was the last thing on her mind, with a doctor that kept repeating she could give birth the next moments.
    Finally on the saturday night ( we came in on thursday morning) the doctor accepted the C-section ( painkillers were weakening my wife, the baby, and maybe the murderous look on my face did help).
    I was rushed out of the room, they did a botched job ( vertical C-section, while most countries do horizontal and recognise that there is NO difference in term of recovery, welfare of baby and wife, but vertical is uglier,,,,,,but this is japan, so the pain/ugliness must be GOOD. Teach wife a lesson: dont have kids ! )
    After that, my wife recovered at the hospital, where nurse were really nice to her.
    Except one or two old nurses, childless, that kept coming, mixing her file with someone else, and telling her that our baby was sick because she could not breastfeed immediately, and that he will grow badly, or be stupid. And then excusing themselves 5 minutes later, saying they got it wrong ( after seeing our baby waking up in good health).
    It looked like they had no care what was their impact on my wife, completely exhausted, and not thinking only of our baby.
    ( and after the birth, seeing the baby size, the doctors confirmed he could not have been born any other way – head too big, as was obvious already on the scan before the birth…)

    6 months later, our baby is as fine as he could be, intelligent, and in good shape.
    And of course my wife doesnt want to have more kids. And still recovering. The bleeding only stopped last month.
    I was stupid to let this go on and should have gone to foreigner doctors from the start.
    My wife still think the doctor did a great job ( as long as natural birth was possible, she wanted to avoid C-section).
    In my home country, after 3-4 hours of pain, she would have had a C-section and no discussion.

  15. oh, and i forgot to say….on the second day, the doctors, while I was out in the rest room, went to see my wife and tell her of a marvellous way to relax her muscles and make the baby come out. She agreed to try it. Then they put some kind of balloon in her, that keep expending for 8 hours to make the muscles go larger and make it easier for the baby.
    What they didnt tell her, was that 1)it feels like being raped 2)very painful if you are very contracted 3)for a baby who is too big to go out the normal way, this is not going to help at all 4)it is banned in my home country, was too painful and too little results.
    My japanese wife still has complete faith in japanese doctors – this is the way it was, and this is the way birth should be – to say otherwise is to deny her pain was required, and she cannot bear it I think.
    I love japan, but I wish they will change their thinking on pain, and what is required or not…but a bit more flexible…
    But what do I know ? I am not japanese…

  16. My dentist on the other hand, is very good.

    I wonder if there is any link between the health care system and the longevity of people here. With more and more western food around, will people live that long in 20 years ?

    Japanese doctors can be really bad. So how do people survive DESPITE their doctors ?
    Probably the food and habits of people. Having good bodies that do survive through whatever stupid treatments the doctors give people.
    Placebo effect must be very strong too.
    A good documentary on TV, on japan health system, will probably scare away half of the population and increase the number of people dying because they lost faith in their doctors ?

  17. A story from Korea: I had a case of swimmer’s ear one weekend. I was hoping to treat it with OTC medication from a pharmacy but in Korea a prescription is required for “medicine”. On the Monday I went to my local Korean doctor – he was busy so, his staff sent me to a female Korean doctor who shares offce with my doc. I told her the problem and she proceeded to shove a giant q-tip into my ear, which just made matters worse because it created an impact. I fled in distress. I returned the next day and told the story to my regular doc, who told me to never visit the female doc again “because she is young and inexperienced”. He then sent me a specialist. This is where the fun begins.

    The specialist proceeds to stick a long thin spoon like device deep into a ear and scrap the sides of my ears of the impacted wax, showing me the results. Now, I have had my share of physical pain – I have a shoulder that pops out of joint with regularly – but having my ear scrapped out was a pain that is bordering torture. It was fucking awful. After it was over, I was told to place some drops in my ears to soften the war and come back tomorrow for another round. As far as I could tell, this procedure was the only thing this doctor did all day long.

    It was brutal. The result was that I had bat-like hearing for weeks after out of that year. The movement of my lightly starched shirts was deafening.

    Speaking of bad hospital experiences, last week in Korea a 14-year old died on the emergency room while undergoing routine surgery on her arm to remove a cyst. The family (not trusting the hospital to perform a proper autopsy) staged a protest in the hospital lobby with the body of their dead daughter. Link

  18. I’ve had nothing but great experiences in doctor’s offices in Osaka. They’ve treated me properly for hypertension, and when I got chest pains, the Red Cross hospital gave me a thorough check to see if I had any real trouble. When I got a viral infection in my stomach, I had to stagger to the hospital late at night and the local doctor hooked me up to a Vitamin B IV and gave me proper medication.

    I suspect that there are just bad professionals out there, just like in any country.

  19. A few institutional problems with Japanese medicine:

    There is no national accreditation for doctors, rather a system of cronyism. I don’t know what universities have medical schools, but, for example, if you graduate from Toudai or Keio, you have the ticket to job as a doctor – no matter what. Even if you are a lousy doctor or have numerous malpractice claims or a high patient mortality rate, you will be able to continue to practice. Just like anything else in the Japanese system, a person’s pedigree and education connections are what count.

    Another problem with Japanese medicine is rather simple: socialized medicine. Doctors in high-rent Tokyo are paid the same rate by the government as low-rent doctors in Shikoku. This puts some customers at a disadvantage simply because of economics realities. In order to make sufficient money to pay the light bill, doctors in high-rent districts have to keep costs down and one way to do so is to funnel the patients through as quickly as possible. That is, unless he can get them into the hospital (more below on hospitals).

    These two factors are significant disincentives for doctors to provide excellent service. Add to the mix sub-standard medical training and you get the current Japanese medical system. I think good Japanese doctors are anomalous. Those that do provide good service are probably either highly self-motivated individuals or trained in the West or both.

    A couple other interesting facts:

    Japan’s sharei system is rather simple. If you want good service or the hoped for outcome of your surgery, you pay the doctor a bribe (sharei). Sharei is the incentive not provided by the official system and apparently can be an effective means of ensuring good care.

    Japan has one of the longest average hospital stay lengths in the world – seems like it’s close to a month. When I was in Japan, I recall people staying in the hospital for ridiculous lengths of time – weeks at a time for minor illnesses or a month before childbirth with a normal pregnancy. I suspect from the doctor’s point of view, if he can keep them in the hospital, he can keep billing.

    I recall Tim Clark and Carl Kays’ excellent tome, Saying Yes to Japan, explores the problems with and potential solutions to Japan’s troubled healthcare situation.

    Finally, the US has plenty of healthcare problems too. Usually, at least in my case, the problem is more with the insurance side of the equation, but I’ve had my share of incompetent doctors too. But here, terrible doctors are the anomaly – the reverse of Japan.

  20. One night I was assiting a buddy with his nose flattened across his face into an ambulance , we were taken to the finest private hospital emergency room at 4am. The service was great…my buddy says he hardly noticed the pain as the doctor re-set his honker beacsue the nurse was so cute he almost forgot his own name…..indeed all the nurses were babes! as an extra bonus we were smiled at by one nurse on night shift sitting at a desk on a barstool style chair with lace underpants on full view…and yes..garter belt! we couldnt beleive it we were living the Japanese salaryman nurse fetish at 4am in the morning!
    The fees came to 80,000yen as he wasnt insured, they tried to insist he paid before he left….i guessd they stop sending bills after 8 years. Sorry but it was just too expensive

  21. Gman I had a similar experience when I underwent my shrooms experience. They tried to get me to pay as much as possible for my ambulance ride in advance. Luckily I didn’t have that much… after emptying my wallet they asked a friend who had rode in the ambulance with me how much she had. I told them she lost her wallet so they couldn’t take any from her as well. In the end, they billed me, and I just owed an extra 1000 yen.

    To comment on doctors in Japan, I’ve had only positive experiences both times I went. One surreal experience was going to the emergency room at 3:00 in the morning… my girlfriend and I had tried anal sex for the first time, and she got intense uterus pains that woke her up. The thing is we had to explain this to the obasan at the reception desk before she’d let us see a doctor. Boy was my girl embarrassed!

  22. owwww..you gotta watch the old back passage method….one guy thought hed killed his gf when she fell unconscious the first time he tried….the doctor explained that forced intrusion can set off a nerve reflex which reduces the heartbeat to an abnormally slow pace ….K.O’d by a blow below the belt

  23. Wanderer,
    I’m interested. Was there any conclusion as to what was correct/appropriate practice in relation to antibiotics and a pregnant woman? I was amazed when I searched the web the other day to see that even with something as basic as asprin, there seemed to be no consensus on the web (amongst Japanese Doctors’ pages anyway).

    Interesting, my best experience with the Japanese health system was with my dentist. I can definitely recommend him to anyone in Tokyo.

    Furuichi Dental Clinic, 25F Sanno Park Tower (above Tameike Sanno station) 03-5501-3205

  24. Mori-san – for the antibiotics…
    My wife was better after 5-6 days of antibiotics treatment ( she was ill for 9-10 days in total ).
    To this day, we dont know if taking or not taking the antibiotics really helped ( will some rest have been enough ? ).
    There doesnt seem to have been any adverse impact on our baby (6 months old looking like a 1-year old in terms of size/development).
    We saw a third doctor ( 30-40 years old ) afterwards who said it was ok since it was recommended by a previous doctor ( also 30-40 ).
    The doctor that yelled at my wife that she was stupid and killing the baby was 50-60 years old.
    No-one seems to be sure of anything there. The impact of antibiotics must also vary on how the woman is ( big, small, fast metabolism, really sick or not, how old is the foetus, …).

    It looks like you cannot really know until you try the antibiotics…

    Looking at the web we found comments from other japanese mothers who used the same drugs and were ok. Other pages indicating other are not advised.
    If this happens again, I think we will look for antibiotics again, if the foetus is old enough…

    I`ll be interested if anyone knows a good website on this kind of questions ( in english ), or some site comparing doctor/medicine in different countries.

    In my home country, pregnant women can get antibiotics too – with lots of checks from doctors before and after. No really clear case too.

  25. What I can’t understand is that if the medical care is so bad (and I wont relate my anecdotes, but I think it is pretty bad) why (a) are the Japanese so trusting of doctors, and (b) why do they insist on going to the doctor for every little thing. I can maybe understand (a) as discussed above, but (b) is a real puzzler to me. Every time I have a cold or pain my co-workers think I am crazy for not going to the doctor.
    I mean, this is a country that is so “data based” that everything is analyzed and measured and graphed. They put spider graphs on the chocolate bars! Yet they insist on going to the doctor for antibiotics for a cold or flu. I think Japanese also tend to be very superstitious (at least compared to USA) and I can almost understand that but medicine is supposed to be a science.

    Does anyone else see this contradiction, or am I imagining it?

    @Wanderer — don’t worry. In another year your wife will forget the pain and consider more children. Once the pain is gone and your son starts sleeping through the night the bad memories fade.

  26. Re medicine for children and pregnant women —
    There is very little data on this since the drug companies rarely test their drugs in these populations. The liability risk is way too high.
    So for most most medicines there is no hard data and everybody is just guessing. Myself, I avoid most medicine and (so far) have never given anything except vaccines to my child.
    My wifes coworker took her infant to the Dr. because of the flue. He gave the child tamiflu and it spent the next three days banging it’s head on the floor. Very scary. This is another topic but is everyone aware of the tmaiflu suicides?
    http://www.ctv.ca/servlet/ArticleNews/story/CTVNews/20070404/tamiflu_youth_070404/20070404?hub=World&s_name=

  27. Doctors in Japan are generally a joke to me. Especially because they do not take more than 30s for you, plus there are people waiting behind you and finishing in front of you in the same room. How do you want to have a private patient-doctor relationship with everyone around you listening in.

    There are good doctors here, but you really have to find them.

    Who knows, its all just a bit mysterious, this open public way at doctors.

  28. That is not suprising that people can faint or experience sharp pains, because anal sex is UNNATURAL! The anus is made to execrate, not to put things into it! Do you know that an abnormaly high proportion of people with fecal incontinence are gay men?? Practicing anal sex weakens the sphincter and can make you anally incontinent! Charming, isn’t it?? Even if you even do it just once, if you do it too vigorously, this one time can be enough to rip the anal walls qand/or to make you incontinent! Otherwise, repeat practice of this ‘activity’ pushes you closer and closer to possible incontinence… Think about it, what do you prefer a wife who doesn’t shit on herself, or anal sex??

  29. I fractured a bone in my hand, had that fixed relatively well. I can only assume so. I some times get an ache, and I wish i was recommended to drink more milk while it was recovering.
    I also needed stitches for a cut on the head, have a scar. Again I can only assume it was dealt with well. One worry being when the doctor, not the best english said my scar was one and a half inches, i didnt enjoy the cycle home and dread of looking in the mirror. It was only 15mm!

    One plus was meeting my wife on the first occasion. I cant complain about that.

  30. I have an oppposite story.

    Went home to Vancouver, Canada for Christmas last year. My baby son developed a bad rash on his rear-end. Took him into a local “walk-in clinic” which my father had been to a few times. After waiting 3 hours, (thankfully it was near a mall so we shopped a bit for Omiyage) saw the Doc.

    He was very nice, and explained things well. Prescribed a cream and away we went. Used the cream and the reddning went down but the rash didnt go away.

    A week later and back in Japan, rash was still bad so we went back to our Doc. – An ancient old guy now working only part time who my wife originally went to when she was a baby!

    We told him the story. He too a little scape of skin, checked it under a microscope and informed us the Cdn. Doc presecibed the wrong cream. Gave us a different cream and the rash was gone in two days.

  31. Wanderer,
    Vertical C-sections are rare but are still preformed. Indications for a vertical incision is a non-elective c-section (emergency), where access to the baby is easier, or abnormal position of the baby or prematurity(not an issue in your case, i think). Medications during pregnancy is a tricky subject as conclusive information is hard to come by. If you have specific questions about the antibiotics, please list its name.

  32. I have to say, reading these posts confirmed for me a thought I’ve had all my life: Japanese medicine and Japanese culture are intertwined, and not in a good way.

    I am half Japanese and have spent many summers in Japan; my bad medicine experience was at 10 years old when I had what was probably the flu, but had no tylenol (it was illegal) to bring my fevers down. A doctor prescribed an adult dose of an antibiotic along with Excedrin which is probably the worst thing to give to a 10 year old with a fever: the combination caused me to have heart palpitations and night sweats and landed me in the hospital.

    My most recent ailment is a head cold and after doing searches for “Japanese cold medicine” I landed on this blog. I have an instinctive and internal refusal to seek medical care while I’m in Japan, so I’m not surprised to see so many people responding to Japanese medicine with revulsion and disgust.

    What gets to me most is not the cronyism or the malpractice — these things happen everywhere. What I can’t stand is the grotesque gulf between the resources available in Japan and the actual state of medical practice in this country. This is a first-world nation with a standard of living that puts American quality of life to shame. Japan should be at the forefront of medical advancement, and it certainly is not.

    My thoughts on this are that the lack of progress in Japanese medicine seems to be self-imposed. As we can see in these posts, arguably the biggest problem is the way in which Japanese culture intrudes upon what should be a scientific process. The idea that the patient is wrong, that the patient should die in an ignorant and noble fashion, that doctors should not be challenged, and that pain and ugliness are good: these are culturally-relative choices that are applied to the scientific practice of medicine. Really, what does one have to do with the other? What place does an attitude of deference and respect have in the scientific method — isn’t part of the scientific method the possibility that you’ll call some other party “wrong”?

    I’ve tried to wrap my mind around the idea that a nation’s science can be guided and shaped by its culture. But I keep getting stuck on this point: while culture is relative, physical health is not. A Japanese person and an American both struck by the same illness are, biologically, the same thing. So it troubles me that there is a failure, in Japan, to recognize that perhaps science should be free from culture. In a land of great politeness and respect — a culture of great creativity, ingenuity, and sophistication — it shocks me that they have allowed those very same practices to stunt the growth of the medical field.

    There’s that old joke about comparing America and a container of Yogurt: if left alone for 250 years, the Yogurt would develop culture. This is one of the first times I’ve been made deeply happy by that joke. I’ll take culture-less medicine any day.

  33. In Okinawa I caught a case of some serious clap. I went to hospital, my whole genital region was swollen, red, sore, and dripping. (I know, emabrrasing and all the rest!!)
    Doctor said it may be hernia???!!!
    I told him I didn’t think so.

    He actually.. In front of me now….. GOOGLED my symptoms..

    He finally agreed with me!!

  34. I’m not sure which I prefer; The medical system in the US where the rich and well insured patients get the best care, or the medical system in Japan where all doctors are payed the same, and the care you get is really dependent on which doctor you are seeing. Personally, I am well insured (in the US) and am very fortunate, but you’ve got to admit that atleast Japan’s poor ARE getting seen by doctors and they are (albeit not well by some accounts) getting treated. If I were poor, and given the choice between no care, or care (albeit maybe poor care, depending on which doctor you see), I’d take the latter.

    For reference, my experience with the US medical system is thus: Shots for allergies until the age of 13. 20 or so vaccinations in my time, 20 or so cases of Strep Throat, and through all of that I’ve been treated properly and in a timely (longest wait maybe 20 minutes ever) manner.

    Oh and I do have one question of the Japanese health care system, (When I get out of college, I plan to get a little work experience *I have none, and no chance of getting any before I graduate* as an English teacher in Japan, either through JET or the other large program) Is American Health insurance accepted there? I know I’ve got another 4 years before I need to worry about it, but really, this is the kind of thing where you are lucky to get an answer whenever you ask.

  35. Last week, I developed a swelling around my backside. It gradually got bigger and more painful.
    By Saturday, it was almost the size of a golf ball and a hospital was the only option.
    Given the high cost of fees and insurance, I was amazed that most Tokyo hospitals only open from 8.30 – 11.00am mon-fri!!!
    Anyway my girlfriend found a place open till 6pm on saturday that wasnt too far away.
    She said it seemed BIG because there were a number of ‘experts’ listed, but the site she was checking was just a listings site and there was no actual website for the hospital itself.
    Still, the pain was sharp and the place was not so far, so we decided to go there…..

    After a 15min walk from the ‘nearest’ station, we came upon a building that looked more like an abandoned countryside shed….but I thought, “we’re here now, so might as well see what the doctor says…”
    Inside, was what can only be described as a cross between a second hand bookstore and a 1970’s NASA Space Centre. Dusty bookshelves and strange machines with nintendesque control panels…
    I explained the problem and filled out the paper and was told to wait whilst the nurse wen t back into a ramshackled office.
    In the waiting room two old men sat patiently. One had a cigarette in his mouth. I was a bit surprised, but then assumed he was about to go outside…Then I saw the ashtray on the table. THIS WAS A SMOKING ONLY WAITING ROOM!
    Given the state of the hospital, I wasnt so surprised and just decided to stand outside.
    Soon I was called…into the OFFICE!Yes the office was the only room!
    So i was made to stand half naked in the OFFICE!
    THe doctor pushed so hard at the abscess that I had to wail..but he seemed to realise straight away what needed to be done..and said i would need to have it cut whilst under general anaesthetic….
    more to come!

  36. Haha, the doctors in Japan are shit. I’d heard some bad things about them before coming there, but it’s still strange once you’re actually in the situation.

    I’ve had two encouters with the Japanese health care system, and both times I was amazed at the idiocy. One time, a Korean female friend of mine, who’d usually drink lots of alcohol in the weekends with no problem, had a beer and one glass of redwine and fell into a really strange, semi-unconscious state and occasionally muttered something about stomach pains. Me and my friend tried to get her to drink water and basically come to for about 2 hours, where we repeatedly tried to get her to count to 5, say her own name etc. After this, we reasoned that we’d better get help. So we called a shit-express of an ambulance that came about 20 minutes later. The guys in the ambulance weren’t really bothered with her state, and told us that she was just drunk, and completely ignored everything we said about the possibility of the cause of her state being unrelated to alcohol (medicin, food poisoning etc, the ambulance guys weren’t having it). They had a look at the redwine of which she’d had one glass, and patiently explained to us idiot gaijins that redwine is strong alcohol. In the end, they wanted to just leave without her, but my friend I talked them into taking her along. Actually, we just said: “Well, don’t you think you should take her in for observation?” and they went: “ah, okay”. In the ambulance, they asked for her name, adress etc, and that was it. I asked them, if they weren’t go to ask, if she was on medication or anything, and the guys were like: “Woah, she’s on medication!?!”, so I said: “I don’t think so”, and they went: “So she’s not had her medication!?!” and I went: “I don’t know if she’s on medication at all!”. They just shrugged at this and took her to the shit factory of a hospital. There, we waited for several hours while she had saltwater pumped into her arm. No blood samples were taken, no question were really asked about anything. We kept saying that she was in pain, and that it was obvious her stomach hurt, because she kept touching it and making grimaces but that wasn’t interesting to the doctors at all.

    Luckily, she woke up by herself feeling really ill in the morning, and we got out of there. It was just as well, beacuse the hospital was about to “close”, and we were told we had to leave anyway. At this point she’d been out cold for about 6-7 hours after one beer and a glass of redwine. We hurried home, and I managed to make it to school next day. Even now, I wonder what the hell happened that night. Maybe she’d had some bad food or something before drinking the “strong redwine”, who knows? The doctor sure as hell didn’t care. Needless to say, the whole situation was much worse that what I’ve been able to articulate her. I don’t do the story justice. Suffice to say that Japanese doctors are inept fuckers.

  37. I also had to deal with Japanese doctors myself on several occasions and was never impressed.
    But the last time i went (last time cauz i swore to myself that i would never go again after what their diagnosis) was a few years back. I was a student at the time and had a baito in a cafe.

    All i had to eat that day was an onigiri from the combini and the food i made myself at work + the makanai. On my way back home on the train, i had a sudden pain in the stomach that was so strong i could not even stand (everyone must have thought i was crazy). Well, i’m gonna pass a few details but for 2 days, i had an awful belly pain, felt like i “had to go” but it just wouldn’t come out. Finally, my boyfriend convinced me to go to the nearest hospital (i lived in Kichijoji, Tokyo) and it looked quite decent (compared to what i had seen before). And then the doctor starts to poke my belly, gives me a tenteki for about half an hour and then the verdict comes in: i have apendicitis! Really doctor? Cauz i really feel like all i have to do is take a s**t but it just won’t come out. And he told me (thankfully) that he couldn’t operate me there, that i had to go to a bigger hospital (Kyorin) which i did the next day.

    I spent the whole day on a wheelchair, they took my blood, urine sample, cat scan, xray, saw a gynecologist and every possible doctor out there, and 5 hours later i found out i had food poisoning! Just like i thought! They gave me some powder to drink and told me to drink lots and lots of Pocari Sweat…..10 days (!!!!! trust me, it’s VERY LONG) later i could finally leave the house and the only good thing that came out of this was the fact that i lost 5kgs.

    Basically they almost butchered me for crap :p

    That’s when i decided never to go see a Japanese doctor again unless necessary.

  38. I’ve been living in Japan for 3 months now and have had a thrush infection which has spread to my esophogus for the past 3 or 4 weeks. I’ve gone to the doctor 3 times the first two times he blew me off. The third time he actually looked in my mouth and then prescribed antiacids and laxtives. Garbage fodder. So I reckon today after work I’m gonna try to see this quack again. Though I’m not sure why I’m bothering. Soon after my arrivial I had an eye infection, but was told by this guy that even if I had an eye problem he wouldn’t be able to tell because my eyes are blue and not black. W T F ? Where do these morons get their medical licenses from?

  39. For the guy who asked, what’s better- poor quality but widely available Japanese medicine or unequal often unavailable but very good US medicine… I answer with Canada! The high quality of care (although yes, there are issues, like wait times) combined with the availability to everyone.
    The US gives socialism a bad rap- but man, we pay maybe 4% more tax on purchases and the like than Cali and we get significantly better health care and general welfare programs… I love socialism! I’ve never worried a day in my life about if I could afford the doctor. (the dentist is another thing… that’s an insurance issue here, too, although not as bad)
    But yeah, on the original topic.. I have heard nothing but terrible, terrible things about Japanese doctors… It’s a really scary thing.

  40. I had a rather bad ear infection, went to the Jibikiya, let them clean it out with the suction thing and put medicine on it(I almost cried from pain but managed not to move more than gripping the chair arm so hard it bent), took the medince they gave me and I was 100% O.K. in a week.

  41. My friend broke her leg, we broght her into hospital and had to wait 2 hours although there wasn’t a lot going on in the ER. After seeing the doctor she’d been told that the specialist is not available anymore (ok it was 11pm) and that she has to wait till next morning. It was ridiculous, she was obviously in pain but didn’t get any painkillers for the whole time, nor anything to cool her swollen leg.
    After complaining loudly that this would never happen in European hospitals. And that I can’t believe that this is the medical treatment of technological advanced country. She got properly treated with painkillers. Maybe someone herad my complaint while being on phone….

  42. I’m so glad I just rubbed salt on everything when I lived in Japan (salt water for conjuctivitis, salt on my gums when I thought I had an infection that was a wisdom tooth coming out)- sounds like I would have ended up missing a limb!
    Although when I had to get compulsory medical checks at our very international university, I found the doctor’s manners perfectly fine. A bit concerning that we had to get two chest x-rays (one in Australia, one in Japan) for tuberculosis- even though Australia has no tuberculosis… really, making young women get chest x-rays? baaad.
    I love my country and our socialised medical system.

  43. Hi!
    I lived in Japan when I was based as a flight attendant in Narita. Communication was sth really hard and they don´t seem to show too much interest in whether they understand or not what you mean, as if their knowledge would go beyond my explanation and symptoms. Anyways, at the moment I am a medical student in Spain and I am working on a project that kinda describes the Medicine practice around the world. I would like to mention some of the things I saw in my project. For those whoe wrote sth, would you be pls forward it to me? [email protected]. And ofr the website owner, can I use some of your comments here?

  44. Damn, these self righteous white guys complaining about Japanese society , yet choose to live here annoy me. Low skilled English teaching trash….go back to you moron USA.

  45. Recognising a problem is the first step to fix it.
    Living with an issue, you get to be used to it, forget about it.

    Japanese society is not the only one having issues with the quality of medical care.
    But this forum is about japan, not US or Germany or France or … who have their own medical issues.
    It is a normal reaction for people who loves this country, to want to make it even better. And denounce OBVIOUS issues.

    With all the changes in food habits, work habits, aging population, Japan is going to rely more on doctors in the future.

    “Youannoyingwhite”: Ad hominem attacks bring nothing to it.
    Argue, show us how wonderful doctors are, or how bad they are, but dont waste everybody’s time swearing at people.

  46. I would choose an Japanese doctor over some incompetent American doctor any day. We are more intelligent, just look at the international education rankings. American IQ is less than 100, Japanese average is 105. Americans are dumb…dumb…dumb…nobody respects them. I also feel sorry for Japanese girl with an american boyfriend…it is quite sad to see her with such low standards.

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