The improvements in Japanese contemporary healthcare took place after the end of World War II, and they included implementation of basic needs as well as equitable distribution of the state’s resources. The state’s main food, rice, was fairly distributed. Moreover, the reconstruction process continued with the collaborative phases in the sanitary collection of domestic wastes and cleaning the environment. Furthermore, life expectancy during the reconstruction was raised due to the better distribution of public health expenditures and dispensation of drugs (Tsurumi, 2015). The Japanese health has seen a drastic improvement owing to the political pluralism which facilitated social reforms essential to the Japanese culture and population.
We can do it today.
After the Second World War, in which Japan was devastated by its aftermath, the nation implemented efficient land reforms. The reforms were the most successful in the Japanese history as they were centered on the national history, values, and culture (Bezruchka, Namekata, & Sistrom, 2008). On top of that, Japan’s new policy on high-income levies made it possible for a fair income distribution among citizens. Thus, such issues as layoffs are minimized and that every individual is set to benefit and can pay for their healthcare needs. Furthermore, the Japanese government also embarked on a legal feature in which there is the limiting of out of pocket payments and proceeds for health insurance organizations. Thus, the current health care in Japan strives on a hybrid system compulsory for all persons.
One reason for the disparity in population health between the U.S. and Japan is income inequality. Unlike in the U.S. where healthcare spends 15 percent of the GDP, Japan employs an equivalent of 7.9 percent of its GDP on health care. America’s per capita GDP is $39676 while that of Japan is $29951 (Kawachi, Fujisawa, & Takao, 2007). There is an interdependence between income and health. The second reason is the lack of social cohesion. In Japan, social cohesion and solidarity became evident over differences in many sectors of private employment compensation which was not the case in the US (Kawachi et al., 2007). In the US, such sectors do not have the same importance as in Japan. A good example is when the executives in the United States cannot cut their salaries to avoid layoffs.
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Kawachi et al. (2007) argued that even though the Americans considered themselves the victors of the Second World War, Japan never lost hope of developing policies that would come to make the country one of the superpowers in the coming future. Equality together with the economic and health policies has boosted the economy of Japan to the extent that it is not far from that of the US. The issue of Obesity is used here to symbolize that the sedentary lifestyle in the US is also the same as that in Japan. For this reason, the future of Japan would come to overtake that of the U.S., even though Japan was demolished during the war.
The first lesson is that Japan is effective in policy planning, and the second one is the need for the alternating focus on health campaigns grounded in trends of diseases.
- Bezruchka, S., Namekata, T., & Sistrom, M. G. (2008). Interplay of politics and law to promote health: improving economic equality and health: The case of postwar Japan. American Journal of Public Health, 98(4), 589-594. http://ajph.aphapublications.org/doi/full/10.2105/AJPH.2007.116012
- Kawachi, I., Fujisawa, Y., & Takao, S. (2007). The health of Japanese-what can we learn from America?. Journal of the National Institute of Public Health, 56(2), 114-121.
- Tsurumi, K. (2015). Social change and the individual: Japan before and after defeat in World War II. Princeton University Press. Retrieved from https://books.google.co.ke/books?hl=en&lr=&id=TaF9BgAAQBAJ&oi=fnd&pg=PR11&dq=Japan’s+contemporary+health+status+aftre+ww2&ots=G28lL5BSLD&sig=y21SKdBGMVaPFm7fG8N6xnG7ca0&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q&f=false