Medical JapaneseEdit

A Crash Course In Medical Japanese. If you do become unwell and need to take sick leave, then the following may be helpful

Calling out of WorkEdit

Call your school or your supervisor as soon as possible. If you simply don’t turn up, your school will be very worried about you, and if you leave it till 8.30 it causes difficulties for your JTEs. What to say when you're calling in sick:

  • もしもし、ジョンですけど、田中先生お願いします。
    Moshi moshi, John desu kedo, Tanaka-sensei onegaishimasu.
    Hello, this is John. May I speak to Mr Tanaka please?

Tell the receptionist/your supervisor that you feel unwell and cannot come to school.

  • 今日は具合が悪いので、休ませていただけますか。
    Kyou wa guai ga warui node, yasumasete itadakemasu ka.
    I don’t feel well today, so may I take the day off please?

Ask for sick leave.

  • 今日は、病休をとらせていただけますか。
    Kyou wa, byoukyuu o torasete itadakemasu ka.
    Can I use Sick Leave today?

Useful Medical Japanese PhrasesEdit

Japanese English
気分が悪いです。 Kibun ga warui desu.
I feel bad
熱があるようです。 Netsu ga aruyou desu.
I have a fever
風邪をひきました。Kaze o hikimashita.
I have a cold
頭痛がします。Zutsu ga shimasu.
I have a headache
めまいがします。Memai ga shimasu.
I feel dizzy
胸が苦しい。Mune ga kurushii desu.
I have chest pains
喉が痛いです。Nodo ga itai desu.
My throat hurts
お腹が痛いです。Onaka ga itai desu.
My stomach hurts
吐き気がします。Hakike ga shimasu.
I feel nauseous
I vomited
下痢をしています。Geri o shite imasu.
I have diarrhea
便秘しています。Benpi shite imasu.
I am constipated
病院へ行きます。Byouin e ikimasu.
I am going to hospital

Your JET diary has more detailed medical terminology
(another reason to actually read and use the thing!).

Health InsuranceEdit

JETs are covered by two types of health insurance. They are the Social Insurance (社会保険 shakai hoken) and Tokio Marine & Nichido Fire Insurance Co. Ltd. JET Accident Insurance

Social Insurance - Japanese National Health InsuranceEdit

We are all enrolled in the national health insurance system of Japan. Upon arrival to your workplace you will soon receive a light blue colored card. If ever you need treatment, take it with you, and you will only have to pay 30% of the bill - check beforehand that the hospital in question accepts the insurance, because not everywhere does.

The national health insurance also covers a portion of treatment given abroad, HOWEVER, you may make a claim ONLY if treatment abroad is unavoidable. Also, the amount paid for by the national health insurance is (technically) calculated as 70% of what the same treatment would cost in Japan. The Japanese government employs some ridiculous way of calculating this, however, and the actual amount usually winds up being only 30-40% of expenses.

Your Insurance OfficeEdit

The best way to handle detailed questions about your insurance is to call your local insurance office. Your insurance office is written on the bottom of your insurance card. If you don't feel that you'll be able to communicate properly in Japanese, you can have a nearby Japanese speaker (JTE, supervisor) contact the office and help you fill out the forms.


If you have a spouse or child that is "largely living dependent on your salary," they are eligible to be covered under your insurance. A person is considered your dependent if:

  1. His/her income is less than 1,300,000 yen per year (1,800,000 if he/she is handicapped or over 60 years of age).
  2. His/her income is less than half of yours.

If your dependent's income is more than half of yours, but still under 1,300,000 yen and less than your income, the insurance office will make a decision based on your individual situation.

Partially covered/Not covered Medical ServicesEdit

Dentists: Partially coveredEdit

  • Treatment for minor cavities and basic materials for filling: covered
  • Regular cleaning/checkups: Not covered

Women's Health: Not coveredEdit

  • Gynecological visits: Not Covered
  • Women must apply for free/subsidized Pap smear
  • Medications like birth control pills: not covered

AIDS/HIV Testing: Not coveredEdit

  • Testing at Hospitals and Private Clinics: not covered
  • Anonymous testing at Public Health Centers is free or there is a small fee

Vaccinations: Partially coveredEdit

Tokio Marine & Nichido Fire Insurance Co. Ltd. JET Accident InsuranceEdit

As JETs we are also covered by Tokio Marine & Nichido Fire Insurance Co. Ltd.. Tokio Marine covers us for trips we make abroad (covers expenses for the medical treatment of illness or injury sustained in an accident that occurred during the period of coverage). You should have received a blue book in Tokyo entitled "JET Programme Accident Insurance Policy Guide" that explains this insurance. Make sure you hold on to this book.

Tokio Marine's insurance covers the 30% deductible that we have to pay when we use our national health insurance card. However, dental and certain other types of medical treatment are not covered by Tokio Marine. Also, it does not cover spouses or anyone other than the insured JET. Please consult the blue book to see what is and is not covered. If you need any assistance while processing a claim call Tokio Marine: 0120-881-018 (Toll free)


If you plan to visit other countries during your time in Japan, do your homework on those countries, and find out what immunizations (予防注射yobou chusha) you should have. Korea is probably fine, but Bangladesh is going to require a series of shots.

Most shots are available in Japan, however at many hospitals, they will only give one injection per week, and each is roughly 4-6,000 yen. Twinrix (Hep A&B combo) is unavailable. Also, these shots are not covered by National Health Insurance. Your local hospital may only carry one or two immunizations, so it may be better/easier/quicker to start in a big city. Many Wakayama hospitals have a wide variety of immunizations available under the conditions stated above.

The International Clinic in Tokyo is a good option. They do as many immunizations at one time as they can and still be healthy, and they are often cheaper than 4-6,000 yen. Plus, if you are willing to pay and can’t make it out to Tokyo, they will send you pill-forms of immunizations (if there's one available). They speak English, the doctor is foreign and gives free consultations. The clinic is located in Roppongi. For more information call:
(03) 3582 2646 or (03) 3583 7831
Monday-Friday, 9-12 and 2-5.