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Lancet. 2011 Oct 1;378(9798):1255-64. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(11)61048-9. Epub 2011 Aug 30.

Re-invigorating Japan's commitment to global health: challenges and opportunities.

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  • 1Department of Global Health Policy, Graduate School of Medicine, University of Tokyo, Japan.

Erratum in

  • Lancet. 2011 Oct 1;378(9798):1218.


Over the past 50 years, Japan has successfully developed and maintained an increasingly equitable system of universal health coverage in addition to achieving the world's highest life expectancy and one of the lowest infant mortality rates. Against this backdrop, Japan is potentially in a position to become a leading advocate for and supporter of global health. Nevertheless, Japan's engagement with global health has not been outstanding relative to its substantial potential, in part because of government fragmentation, a weak civil society, and lack of transparency and assessment. Japan's development assistance for health, from both governmental and non-governmental sectors, has remained low and Japanese global health leadership has been weak. New challenges arising from changes in governance and global and domestic health needs, including the recent Great East Japan Earthquake, now provide Japan with an opportunity to review past approaches to health policy and develop a new strategy for addressing global and national health. The fragmented functioning of the government with regards to global health policy needs to be reconfigured and should be accompanied by further financial commitment to global health priorities, innovative non-governmental sector initiatives, increased research capacity, and investments in good leadership development as witnessed at the G8 Hokkaido Toyako Summit. Should this strategy development and commitment be achieved, Japan has the potential to make substantial contributions to the health of the world as many countries move toward universal coverage and as Japan itself faces the challenge of maintaining its own health system.

Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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