Masuzoe Favors Easing Rules On Foreign Doctors

According to the Yomiuri Shimbun, Health, Labor and Welfare Minister Yoichi Masuzoe said that foreign doctors should be allowed to conduct medical activities in the structural reform zones to help alleviating the shortage of medical practitioners.

He said that at a meeting of the National Governors Association in Tokyo on Nov.26th, 2007.

The system for designated structural reform zones allows regulations to be eased in certain areas to stimulate economic and other activities.

At the meeting, Niigata Gov. Hirohiko Izumida asked Masuzoe to let foreigners who got the doctorate at Niigata University's faculty of medicine offer their services in a designated structural reform district.

The Medical Practitioners Law obliges doctors who have a foreign medical license to acquire a Japanese national qualification before they can conduct medical practices in Japan. However, many foreign doctors are unable to acquire the national qualification because they lack Japanese language ability and other factors.

The Niigata prefectural government has applied to the central government to set up a structural reform zone where non-Japanese doctors can conduct medical practices in underpopulated areas.

Masuzoe was receptive to Izumida's suggestion.