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Med Teach. 2004 Aug;26(5):403-8.

Rapid change in Japanese medical education.

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Medical Education and Research Unit, International Medical University, Bukit Jalil, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.


Change in Japanese medical education has been accelerating over the last 10 years. Historically, clinical departments in each medical school played a crucial role, but reports in the mass media tried to refute the feudal 'ikyoku-koza' system with a number of malpractice cases, inappropriate patient-doctor communication, etc. At that time policies by the Ministries of Education and Health (rationalized in 2001) independently became more influential in medical education. In particular the network of governmental medical schools has been restructured, merged and privatized since 2001. In the 1990s several private medical schools developed distinctive curricula including problem-based learning (PBL), the objective structured clinical examination (OSCE) and introduction to clinical medicine (ICM). The curriculum for clinical medicine is still a critical issue and will be a major challenge for the management of each medical school. The effectiveness of the National Model Curriculum consisting of more than 1200 objectives might be questionable but the National Common Achievement Test (CAT) will make a strong impact on the preclinical curriculum. In the future each medical school should adopt an outcome-based education system to close the loop of curriculum development. An evaluation system based on the entire medical school or curriculum will be the key to successful education.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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