Japanese couple attacked in Honolulu face $50,000 in medical costs


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Didn't they have travel insurance?

11 ( +15 / -4 )

It's a medical money game in the USA. Is it true that national healthcare system will pay for emergencies overseas to a limited extent? Can someone confirm this? Also, Japanese credit cards often have travel medical benefits around 1M yen. Tell the American hospital billing department that is all you can pay and move on. Don't just pay 50,000. That would be stupid. American hospitals always inflate their bills anyway.

5 ( +8 / -3 )

A: Who in the world travels without travel insurance?

B: The USA seriously needs to be ashamed of its medical system

C: What an ultra specific knee jerk reaction " Japanese consulate to issue a warning Tuesday for tourists to avoid public restrooms in Kakaako". So a public restroom anywhere in the world is okay.

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

Actually, many tourists around the world don't get travel insurance. One survey by a British travel agency found that 40% of travelers don't get travel insurance. I read frequently of tourists resorting to GoFundMe pages in order to help with medical and expatriation costs due to some mishap, often involving motorbikes. Just because some people may buy travel insurance as a habit, does not mean everyone else does.

Also, homeless people around the world are not the same as homeless in Japan. Homeless people in places like the article above are frequent sources of problems involving criminal activity and threat to civilians. This is different from Japan where homeless tend to stick to themselves and stay out of trouble and out of sight. Japanese traveling abroad need to understand this and not get complacent. If Japanese tourists are getting assaulted simply walking into a public restroom where criminal homeless congregate, well yeah, someone needs to issue a warning. This doesn't happen everywhere.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Travel insurance really should be compulsory.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

If you go into a restroom full of drug users, you very quickly exit. There are not enough details in this article, but I suspect the Japanese guy said something to them to spark the assault.

-17 ( +0 / -17 )

I wonder if the guy has checked his credit card? My Japan issued card has travel insurance, even though the issuing bank hardly advertises it.

I hate junkies. Makes me glad I live in Japan.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

True story. A couple of years ago, my wife, son and I were in Honolulu in that neighborhood and were driving past that park. My son saw the playground and wanted to stop and play on the playground equipment. We stopped, parked the car and got out.

As we got to the playground equipment, we noticed a bag under the equipment that had been cut open. With a knife next to it, papers strewn around, car registration documents and the like. We looked around and saw a number of homeless people camped near the restrooms. We very quickly got back into our car, but called the police to report what we found since it looked like stolen goods.

That was 2 years ago. And it wasn't any better when we were there a few months ago.

The problem is that too few Japanese tourists know of the dangers in the various parts of Honolulu. They don't know about the sharp increase in crimes, including in Waikiki. And none of the guide books or the tour agencies tell them. Not good for business.

They were in the wrong place at the wrong time and would never have anticipated this, but I still think that far too many Japanese tourists are completely oblivious to the dangers in Honolulu... because it is supposed to be "a tropical paradise".

16 ( +16 / -0 )

The state of Hawaii should pay the bills.

6 ( +13 / -7 )

Didn't they have travel insurance?

Blame the victim as always.

-3 ( +10 / -13 )

You what is really interesting about the comments? Everyone is focusing whether that victims had travel issuance. Not one of comments express any sympathies for the pain that the Japanese family is going through.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

This story is very sad and I feel very sorry for the couple.

Unfortunately few places in the World are as safe as Japan appears to be from our various visits there and this must breed a false sense of security in Japanese people when they travel abroad. I would not dream of entering a public washroom in a park almost anywhere in the World except Japan. In cities throughout Europe and North America there are parts which are total no go areas and one needs to be very on guard at all times. Since Japan does not appear to be like this it must make Japanese people very vulnerable when they travel abroad.

Hope that they recover quickly from this.

5 ( +8 / -3 )

I'll donate! Does anyone have a link?

I feel so sorry for them. I worry about Japanese people wandering into dangerous situations in the United States. Japan is such a safe country that I think tourists may be naive to many red flags in other countries.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

It makes me sick that people on vacation are brutally attacked and all people can ask about is whether they had travel insurance or not. The fact is most US cities are hot beds of crime and I warn my Japanese friends here in Miyazaki to research very closely the city they are going to and the area they will be staying in.

After one friend looked at the crime rate, the level of violent crimes in Houston they ditched that idea and instead looked at Des Moines, Iowa for a vacation. They returned to Miyazaki happy and with great memories of a trip to a city off the beaten track and even had the chance to try great Iowa pork and agricultural goods for free at many places since they were on vacation from Japan. The locals they said really went out their way to make them feel welcome.

Know before you go yes, but we can also share some empathy for the victims of violent crimes.

5 ( +8 / -3 )


"Everyone is focusing whether that victims had travel issuance"

Yes, because that's the centrall them of the article. The headline reads "$50,000 in medical costs." And then the lead sentence states, "$50,000 in medical costs."

And then the society president is quoted as saying, "Their (the couple's) biggest concern is their hospital expense,...."

Our posts are perfectly relevent, in line with the article's theme.

9 ( +10 / -1 )

While the amount needs to be paid, they can file for a refund with their national health insurance here in Japan.

A rather little known fact about the Japanese health insurance is that overseas charges can be compensated, not 100% as Japan is co-pay, but they will not be stuck paying all out of pocket.

Overseas Medical Treatment Benefit is paid to cover medical treatments you received in overseas which are equivalent to medial cares in Japan covered by National Health Insurance. Benefit amount is calculated based on standard medical cost of equivalent treatment provided in Japanese medical institutes. If overseas medical costs is lower than Japanese standard costs, the amount if benefit will be 70% of actual medical cost paid in overseas. To receive Overseas Medical Treatment Benefit, you must pay full amount of overseas medical costs first, then make a claim after you return to Japan. Once your claim accepted, you will receive an equivalent amount of 70-90% of Japanese standard medical costs.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

You what is really interesting about the comments? Everyone is focusing whether that victims had travel issuance.

Because that's what the story is about.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

While the amount needs to be paid, they can file for a refund with their national health insurance here in Japan.

Regarding the above anyone who pays that full amount is not smart about it- even if the Japanese medical system pays some of it. If you want to pay then leave the country first. Give the hospital your Japan address (no phone or email) to send the bill then negotiate for a lower bill and one that will be covered within the claim of the Japanese system- then pay and make a claim. On top of that use your credit card benefits. If you think about it so many Americans don't pay their medical bills at all so it is fair if the hospitals get what is settled with the Japanese medical insurance system. In this case the American hospital will get something between zero and the maximum they are asking. Instead of $50,000 they might get 10,000 and that's enough.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

He should have immediately left the bathroom. What was he thinking? These guys weren't having a tea party.

-6 ( +1 / -7 )

Most US cities have victim compensation programs and Oahu is no exception.

Also as stated above Japanese health insurance will pay all they need to do is submit the international medical codes from the hospital on a form from the town hall and a receipt of payment, that’s the catch, isn’t it!

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

This is absolutely awful for the couple. You're just minding your own business on holiday, and you get bashed in AND have to pay a whopping amount for medial treatment. I've had my teeth smashed in before (in an accident) and it's not a nice feeling.

I too never never bothered taking out health insurance, but these past few years, I've always paid for it. You never know what can happen, especially in USA. Thankfully, I've never had to use it. And no, my Japanese credit card doesn't cover anything.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Anyone going to the states absolutely needs insurance and with broken teeth the couple had a lot of dental work, no doubt.

The US is routinely 4-5 times the cost of Japan for medical care

3 ( +4 / -1 )

"The headline reads "$50,000 in medical costs." "

Really? The headline reads:

"Japanese couple attacked in Honolulu face $50,000 in medical costs"

You seem to have forgotten the Japanese couple attacked in Honolulu part. I wonder why?

Another interesting part. the story broke two days ago. The Japan Today is only now running the story.

-6 ( +1 / -7 )

Here is the full story

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

And then the society president is quoted as saying, "Their (the couple's) biggest concern is their hospital expense,...."

How little you know of Japanese. Japanese are very responsible people. Even if it was not his fault, he still feels responsible for his bills. The family isn't screaming racism and calling Americans animals, Are they?

Take a look at the photos that are online and tell me that they just worried about their bills.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

I'm confused. Who do they owe money to? An American hospital? The Japanese Embassy? If it's an American organization, I say, forget about it. The US government or private company can't enforce anything here is Japan, to my knowledge. So I suppose the Japanese Embassy paid there bill?

0 ( +2 / -2 )

"Who do they owe money to"

The hospital in Hawaii.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

By the way, if anyone cares. The police in Hawaii caught the guy who did it.

 Honolulu police have charged a man arrested in connection with a brutal attack against two tourists in Kakaako.

20-year-old Isea Taumoepeau has been charged with two counts of assault. He's being held on $200,000 bail. 

The attack occurred on May 28th, inside the public restroom at Mother Waldron Neighborhood Park on Coral Street. 

Honolulu police found a Japanese man lying on the ground inside the park's restroom. 

Sources say the man had a bloody nose, a deep cut on his forehead. His teeth were nearly knocked out.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Sources say the man had a bloody nose, a deep cut on his forehead. His teeth were nearly knocked out.

50,000 dollars is too much for that.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

According to the news, the man was found passed out by police and his partner had been knocked unconscious by the assailant(s). This probably meant that they were taken by an ambulance which alone costs thousands of dollars. This plus whatever surgery they had plus perhaps having to stay overnight adds way up.

The problem is that too few Japanese tourists know of the dangers in the various parts of Honolulu.

It is actually the same for many other tourist destinations. People don't realize what may be hiding behind a place that seems beautiful in pictures. There are hairy places/people in many beach resort/tropical places.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Hawaii has a meth problem.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Yes as mentioned above, regardless of whether the Japanese government will reimburse them is irrelevant, because they don't have the money on hand to immediately pay for the care. Some countries won't even let you leave until you settle the bill. Hence, if you have no legit travel insurance, you are stuck.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

A lot of comments are on the whole travel insurance aspect of this story. And rightly so.

I will not have a go at this couple if they did not have travel insurance. They endured a horrible experience and even if they had travel insurance, this is one of those life-impacting experiences. Medical bills or no medical bills.

However, I will say this. Japanese travelers (well, any travelers, for that matter) need to know the risks and dangers of traveling to ANY destination. And that includes Hawaii.

Far too few guide books or travel agents advise on the crime issues in Hawaii.

And, equally, they don't share the horror stories of the costs of emergency medical care in the U.S.

True story. Another one. From 2012. My wife and I travelled to Hawaii. Before our son was born. At Narita, we bought our travel insurance from AIU. Cost us around 20,000 yen for the two week trip for the two of us.

During the last week of the trip, we were out doing some hiking and I got a cut. Cleaned it up, didn't think anything of it. The day before we were scheduled to leave, I developed a high fever and chills. The clinic in Waikiki told me to go the ER at Queen's Medical Center ASAP.

Turned out I had developed cellulitis. Very serious but nothing that a bunch of antibiotics couldn't cure. Queens was awesome, great staff. They knew our flight was in the morning, so they pumped me full of antibiotics, monitored me for a couple of hours, then discharged me at 1 a.m. I picked up the prescription for the antibiotics to take with me, we went back to the hotel, and made our flight in the morning.

The point? I won't tell you what the bill would have been if I had not had travel insurance, but let's just say that we would have been significantly poorer as a result. But with travel insurance? It cost us nothing, other than what we paid for the insurance.

The lesson? Don't travel ANYWHERE without sufficient medical insurance / coverage. Period. If you can't afford the insurance, then don't go. It should be as much a part of the mandatory cost of a trip as anything else. Period. And travel agents and guide books for Japanese should say this. Even for (especially for?) Hawaii.

Not blaming this couple or having a go at them, just speaking to the lessons built into this story.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

I am deeply shocked and truly sorry for this brutal attack of the Japanese couple here in Honolulu, Hawaii.

I was born and raised here on Oahu, and cried when I learned about this extremely cruel act that was committed by a person who lives here on Oahu. There are no excuses that can be offered. There is nothing but profound feelings of true sadness.

I would like to extend my apologies to the couple, their families, their friends, and the people of Japan.


Mark Kazuo Bradley

2 ( +2 / -0 )

$50,000 medical bill.... talk about "insult to injury". Do not go to the USA without buying one of those medical insurance plans first.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Some countries won't even let you leave until you settle the bill.

Which ones?

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

@nishikat Philippines, for one, will not let you leave a hospital until your bill is paid. Bring cash. I am sure there are others with the same policy.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Philippines, for one, will not let you leave a hospital until your bill is paid

To curb the practice of some hospitals in detaining their patients or preventing them from leaving the hospital premises for their failure to pay their hospital bills, Republic Act (R.A.) No. 9439, entitled “An Act Prohibiting the Detention of Patients in Hospitals and Medical Clinics on Grounds of Non-payment of Hospital Bills or Medical Expenses,” came into being. From the title itself, this law is aimed at discouraging hospitals and preventing them from detaining their patients just because they failed to settle their hospital bills.

(news source)

Sound like kidnapping and is a police matter. You should call 117 and let the authorities know you have been kidnapped by the hospital. Again, which countries don't let you leave until bill is settled? But I would pay in Philippines anyway since healthcare is obviously cheaper and can be taken care of by the Japanese system.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

not fault of the state of Hawaii, the perpetrators are at fault, victims may be able to sue them, if police are found to be negligent that's another matter. in my case of assault in meguro in front of witnesses the perp was found guilty but claimed had no money, police were proven negligent but lawyers not in interested in lawsuit against them.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

To those going on about travel insurance: No, it's literally not what the article is about (the word insurance is not mentioned even once), and no, travel 'insurance' should not be mandatory just because you're a fearful person who also has money to burn on it. Instances like these are rare; if they were commonplace I think the appropriate thing would be to just not travel for leisure.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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