ICAS Event: Healthy Healthcare - Lecture Series "Japan's Healthcare System: What works, what is broken, what does it take to fix it?"

Co-hosted by American Chamber of Commerce Japan, the Australia & New Zealand Chamber of Commerce in Japan and Temple University, Japan Campus, ICAS

Friday, January 22nd, 2010
7:00 p.m. (Talk will start at 7:30 p.m.)
TUJ Azabu Hall 212/213 (Access)
Dr. Ludwig Kanzler
Dr. Rene Duignan
Open to general public.
You can purchase a bento and drinks at the convenience store next to the university.
RSVP is now closed


On its surface, Japan's health system appears to be one of the world's best. The country provides universal access to health care and scores well on most public health metrics. Yet Japan consistently spends less on health care than most other developed countries do. However, Japan's health system — like those in many other countries — is under severe stress. An increasing number of patients are finding it difficult to obtain the right care at the right time and place. The quality of care delivered varies markedly. Many of the cost-control measures the system has implemented have damaged its cost-effectiveness. The system's funding mechanisms are insufficient to meet rising costs, and given the current economic situation, the country has few good options for meeting the funding gap. As a result, the sustainability of Japan's health system is now in question, and decisive action is necessary. Japan must act quickly to address several issues if it wants to ensure the system's sustainability. For example, it must establish greater control over the supply of and demand for health services and alter the system's incentives to ensure that they promote high-quality, cost-effective care. In addition, the country must find novel ways to generate supplemental funding. Health system reform is not easy, however. It requires a thorough understanding of the system's problems and the political willingness to tackle them. After analysing the challenges Japan is confronting, we identified seven steps the country could take to get its reform program off the ground.

Speaker Profile

Dr. Ludwig Kanzler is a partner of McKinsey and Company. He is a co-leader of McKinsey's healthcare practices in Japan and Asia, and leads McKinsey's work on health systems, payors and providers in Japan. Ludwig works mostly with companies in the health sector, advising them on a variety of issues, including improving sales and marketing practices, speeding up product development, concluding and managing alliances with partners, and developing regulatory policies. He has served multinational industry associations in Japan, Korea and China, and has also consulted with the Japanese government on regulatory reform. Ludwig has led a major initiative at McKinsey to develop perspectives on the challenges Japan's healthcare system is facing, to contemplate potential solutions and to discuss these widely with Japanese stakeholders, including many politi cians, public servants, physicians and industry representatives. Ludwig has been living in Japan for 15 years and speaks fluent Japanese. He is a graduate of the London School of Economics and holds masters and doctorate degrees in economics from Oxford University. Before joining McKinsey, he was with the Bank of Japan's research institute and subsequently led the national sales force of a multinational manufacturer in Japan.

Moderator Profile

Dr. Rene Duignan is the curator of the Healthy-Healthcare series. He works for the Central Bank of Italy covering Asian economies with a particular interest in China. He lectures in international economics and business at Aoyama Gakuin University. He is Chair of the JIC Study Group was formerly a global liaison for the Health Policy Institute Japan where he developed a strong interest in J-healthcare. Dr. Duignan is a board member of the Ireland Japan Chamber of Commerce. Dr. Duignan is a graduate of Trinity College Dublin, University College Dublin and Aoyama Gakuin University, where he was a recipient of the Japanese Government Monbukagakusho research scholarship.

About ICAS
The Institute of Contemporary Asian Studies (ICAS) is an organization dedicated to fostering study and research on various topics related to contemporary Japan and Asia.

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