Medical and Emergency Information
National Health Insurance (NHI)
The health care system in Japan is one of the best in the world, with national health insurance available to all Japanese citizens and registered expatriate nationals, including students whose visa is sponsored by the university. Although the health care system may be different than what you are familiar with in your home country, affordable, quality health care is available and may be necessary during your stay in Japan.
Japan's national medical insurance is divided into two main programs: the National Health Insurance Program (NHI) and employer-sponsored health insurance. All Japanese citizens are required to join one of the two programs. Foreigners who have permission to stay in Japan for at least six months are also required to join one of these programs. This is also the case even if you are covered overseas under other insurance. In most cases, as students, you will be applying for NHI.
National Health Insurance 国民健康保険 (kokumin kenko hoken) is a regional medical insurance system designed to reduce the burden of medical treatment costs through a cooperative system of paying premiums. When you visit a doctor or dentist, you must show your NHI certificate to receive a 70% discount. You are responsible for only 30% of the treatment costs. For students, the premiums are very affordable because the NHI premium is calculated based on income for the previous year.
If you have no or low income in Japan the previous year, you are eligible for a discount on your premium. This discount must be renewed each year, and may increase according to income from part-time jobs. You will be fined if you have overdue health insurance payments. Info on applying for NHI will be provided at the New Student Orientations at the beginning of each semester.
For general purpose (non-emergency, non-chronic) conditions, just about any hospital will be sufficient, but if you want specialized care or prefer to visit a hospital with English-speaking staff, you may need to do some research before going to the doctor. Note that some international clinics with foreign staff may not accept NHI, so be sure to check before you go. If you have additional private insurance, you can pay up-front and then be reimbursed from your insurance company later.
Note: The Office of Student Services also has a list of various types of hospitals/clinics. Please visit/contact the OSS for more information.
When visiting the hospital, if possible, bring your dictionary. While the standards of health care are high in Japan, the system is somewhat different. If you want a thorough explanation of your condition and treatment, politely insist on a specific explanation so that you can understand the care you are being given.
After the diagnosis, you will pay and may be given a receipt that includes a prescription for medication, which you should then take to a pharmacy (usually nearby the hospital or clinic where you received care).
Importing Personal Medication
Prescriptions from outside of Japan cannot be filled in Japan. Although it is strongly recommended to see doctors in Japan and receive prescriptions here, there may be more complex situations where you need to personally import some medications for your treatment. For more information, please visit the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare's website:
You should also visit the website for Japan’s Customs:
If you have a serious and/or chronic medical condition, please indicate it on your health information form (one of the pre-arrival forms sent to you by OSS).
Medical / Emergency Helplines
Japanese hospitals are open to the general public for limited hours and may not allow emergency admission, particularly in the evenings or on weekends. Please call in advance to confirm - even if this means seeking assistance to do so - and go to a hospital or clinic that is large enough to have an emergency room for general admission.
Emergency Phone Numbers
- 110 (English speaking police: 03-3501-0110 ext.4585 or 4586 *daytime only)
Medical Institutions that Offer Assistance in Foreign Languages:
AMDA International Medical Information Center
Monday through Friday 09:00 to 20:00 (Chinese, English, Korean, Spanish, Thai)
Wednesday 13:00 to 17:00 (Filipino)
Monday, Wednesday, Friday 09:00 to 17:00 (Portuguese)
Tokyo Metropolitan Health and Medical Information Center
Daily 09:00 to 20:00 (Chinese, English, Korean, Spanish, Thai)
Emergency Interpretation Service (for Medical Institutions)
Weekdays 19:00 to 20:00 / Weekends 09:00 to 20:00
(Chinese, English, Korean, Spanish, Thai)
Japan is a highly developed, affluent economy with modernized infrastructure. The level of public safety, with an extensive network of local police offices, also encourages a sense of security in daily life. Yet Japan is the most seismically active country in the world and the possibility of a major earthquake or other natural disaster, such as a typhoon, is a genuine concern that requires preparation.
TUJ covers disaster preparation at orientation for all new students. Each floor of TUJ has assigned to it floor safety officers responsible for coordinating evacuation efforts from the building. A combined earthquake and fire drill is also conducted by TUJ and building staff once a year. TUJ also has a limited supply of water and food in the event of a major disaster where public transportation has halted and students are stranded at TUJ overnight.
We recommend students to be prepared in the event of a natural disaster by completing the below procedures:
- Determine where the safest place in your house/apartment is.
- Store enough drinking water for three days.
- Prepare a backpack or emergency bag and store it in a place that is easy to access. Example of items to put in the backpack/emergency bag:
- drinking water and food,
- money (including ¥10 coins for public pay phones),
- copies of identification materials such as passports, bankbooks, etc. and other valuables,
- matches, lighter and candles,
- a first aid kit (including personal medication),
- helmet or other protective headgear,
- cotton work gloves, socks and underwear,
- heat-insulating and waterproof blankets,
- Use metal fittings to secure furniture and prevent it from falling over.
- Use shatter-prevention film on windows, shelves, etc. where glass is used.
- Make a note of emergency contact telephone numbers and the phone number, address and other contact details of someone who can communicate in your language.
- Confirm where your nearest emergency evacuation site is and how to get there. If you are unsure, inquire at your city/ward office.
All international students are also strongly encouraged to check their country's embassy website and become familiar with the services they offer to its citizens in the event of an emergency. Many embassies offer citizen registration and TUJ recommends you to register your information with your embassy so they can communicate with you and assist you in a natural disaster or emergency. Registering with your embassy will also make it faster and easier for you to renew or replace your passport, if lost.
In addition to registering with your embassy, for emergency purposes it is important that the university has on file your current phone/mobile phone number and the emergency contact information of a family member. Please also be sure that your family has both the university's and your contact information.
As phone lines and mobile phone networks may be impaired during and after natural disasters, TUJ will communicate with its students via Temple University email (TUmail) and the TUJ website (www.tuj.ac.jp). Please check your email and website for updates as often as you can, and follow instructions from the university in regards to confirming your whereabouts and safety.