What Should be Prepared
Hi Smiles friends! Welcome back to our Japan 101 series. Today we are going to share about annual health check up in Japan.
Do you always have your health checked every year? Is it an usual thing to do in your country? In Japan, almost everyone do their annual health check. It is mandatory to have your medical check up every year for employees. As or students; they have their yearly check up done by their school. If you’re self-employed or unemployed, you’ll need to make your own appointment through the National Health Insurance program. It might be free or they will charge you some money, depending on the city you live in as well as free testing depending on your age. The standard health check is called an Ippan Kenko Shindan or Ippan Kenshin（一般健康診断・一般健診）. Regular Health Checkup typically includes physical measurement, doctor’s consultation, blood pressure measurement, vision and hearing test, urine test, chest X-ray, ECG and blood test.
First, if you have to go to a hospital or clinic (not set by the company or school), you would have to make an appointment beforehand. If it is a health check up by National Health Insurance, you can use free regular checkup services provided by NHI. They will post-mail the free coupons to your address. You would have to choose date and time, and send a post card they provided back to the assigned address. There’s no confirmation; you just need to go with your ‘residence card’ and a little slip of paper with your unique health check ID number and personal details (this slip is sent to you too with the initial information).
Second, they will ask you to fast before having the check up. It depends on each service, some will advice you to refrain from eating after 10 p.m. the day before, some may ask you to do it 6 hours before the check up, and some only 3 hours. In addition, you have to provide both a urine and a fecal sample. The fecal sample is quite complicated, so you should read the instructions carefully before taking it. The urine sample must be taken the morning of your exam immediately after waking up. Also, you have fill out a medical questionnaire that asks specific questions about lifestyle, such as do you smoke or not, how long do you walk everyday, how often you drink alcohol, etc. Here they also ask about any pains, ailments or worries you may have been experiencing. For ladies, they ask about your pregnancy or if you are currently breast feeding.
Last but not least, you just have to go on the time and date of your appointment. Do not forget to bring your residence card, health insurance card, samples of urine and fecal, and the medical questionnaire. Depending on the hospital or clinic, but it will take for about 1 hour in general. After you are done with physical measurement, blood pressure measurement, vision and hearing test, urine test, chest X-ray, ECG and blood test, the last step is doctor consultation. If doctor finds something is not normal with you, he might ask you to go for further consultation. And if you feel that the regular health check doesn’t provide enough, you can do a comprehensive, full-day process called Ningen Dock（人間ドック）. However, it is not covered by health insurance and it could take as expensive as JPY 40,000.