Week 7: Health Status in Japan
At the turn of the 20th century, Japan’s mortality was roughly the same as in Western countries (Johansson and Mosk, 1987). But the nation’s health deteriorated in the build-up to the Second World War when the country was almost totally destroyed. Japan’s experience with unprecedented challenges (including earthquakes, tsunamis, and nuclear disasters) offers a unique opportunity for studying how political and legal features of a health care system can support population health.
This week, you consider how post-war reconstruction contributed to Japan’s contemporary health status and the significant political, legal, and cultural factors that enabled the nation’s remarkable health achievements.
Learning Objectives
Students will:
Analyze Japan’s contemporary health status
Identify significant political and legal features of Japan’s health care system
Analyze great disparity between the Japanese and American population

Discussion: What Can America Learn from Japan?
As the week’s resources reveal, the Japanese experience demonstrates the importance of cultural issues, such as caring and sharing, that profoundly influence health outcomes. Without considering culture, one cannot begin to explain why Japan is the world’s healthiest nation on most mortality indicators despite having a high proportion of men smoking and the highest rates of low-birth weight babies among rich nations.
Furthermore, health outcomes in Japan are significantly better than those in the U.S., even though the U.S. spends much more on health care. What can the U.S. learn from this country?

To prepare for this Discussion, review your Learning Resources on Japan’s health status.
Post a brief analysis using “sub-title” of:
How reconstruction after World War II contributed to Japan’s contemporary health status.
Summarize one significant political feature and one legal feature of Japan’s contemporary health care system that contributes to Japan’s population health status.
Offer two reasons (historical, political, legal, and/or cultural) for the disparity between the Japanese and American populations in health achievement.
Finally, suggest two lessons other countries can learn from the Japanese experience to improve their own health status. Expand on your insights utilizing the Learning Resources.

Please read the “Learning Resources” and follow the “Course Rubric” to complete this assignment.

Learning Resources:
Bezruchka, S., Namekata, T., & Sistrom, M. G. (2008). Interplay of politics and law to promote health: Improving economic equality and health: The case of postwar Japan. American Journal of Public Health, 98(4), 589–594.
Note: Retrieved from Walden Library databases.

What Can America Learn from Japan?