Stricter measures needed to deal with expectant foreign entrants, journalist writes


Countries have somewhat different ways of dealing with the same type of problem. Take the U.S. for example. Can foreign nationals who are expectant mothers expect to be waved through at points of entry?

This question was posed online to the web site operated by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection, which replied, "When determining if you will be allowed to enter the U.S., CBP Officers take into consideration the date your child is due for delivery and the length of time you intend to stay in the U.S. In addition, they want evidence that you have sufficient medical insurance to cover any medical necessities while you are in the U.S. and that you intend to return home." (Ref: )

Okay, now how about Japan? First of all, readers should understand that unlike the U.S., the concept of jus soli does not apply, i.e., a child of non-Japanese parentage born in Japan does not automatically obtain Japanese citizenship.

That, however, does not rule out other problems.

Journalist Kaori Arimoto was moved to take up this topic in Yukan Fuji (March 29) after reading a government announcement two days prior that approximately 20% of the foreign visitors hospitalized during their stays in Japan failed to settle their hospital bills. And that the outstanding debt, according to the government's survey, was about 93 million yen.

One Diet member supposedly remarked off the cuff that "A figure of less than 100 million is not so serious," but Arimoto points out that in the came of one particular hospital, the unpaid amount was approximately 14.22 million yen, no small amount.

The survey, moreover, only received responses from about half the hospitals questioned, and it's very possible that some of the others were also mired in patient debts.

Getting down to the specifics of the reasons for hospitalization, roughly half the respondents replied childbirth. A total of 10 centers specializing in advanced maternity care noted that the number of foreign tourists treated had numbered between one and three, with the average unpaid bill amounting to some 1.3 million yen.

Arimoto concedes that while it's true a small number of Japanese females may have also given birth outside the country, in most cases they are in a position to cover such costs. Sometimes their motive was to acquire dual nationality for the child, such as made possible by countries like the United States.

In recent years, however, America's jus soli policy has come under criticism, and none other than President Donald Trump has gone on record as calling for its abolition.

At the very least, in recent years expectant mothers arriving at U.S. points of entry are requested to provide evidence -- such as in the form of bank savings -- to demonstrate they will not become a burden on society.

The aforementioned U.S. government website states, "Although there are no specific regulations prohibiting pregnant foreign nationals from entering the U.S., entry is allowed or denied at the discretion of the admitting U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Officer. If the CBP Officer determines that you are likely to become a ward of the can be denied entry." 

Japan, unfortunately, has yet to adopt restrictive measures to deal with this issue.

From April, moreover, revised immigration laws will open Japan's gates to foreign entrants coming for the purpose of work. In addition to plugging any gaps in the national health insurance scheme, Arimoto urges that measures be promptly adopted to ascertain that women who enter the country in a pregnant condition do not add to the healthcare system's burdens.

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One Diet member supposedly remarked off the cuff that "A figure of less than 100 million is not so serious,"

That's a wise enough statement for that Diet member to not remain anonymous.

Something that costs the average resident less than 1 yen each a year should not be sensationalized. Journalists should have much bigger stories to report on than this.

(the amount of unpaid bills from Japanese people is not mentioned. For some, it will be huge)

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Don't worry Japan, you'll get your money back. Think about all the young healthy foreigners you'll be bringing in and then kicking out after 5 years. I'm sure you'll have them paying into the system. We all know that statisically speaking, young people use the medical system much less than old. They won't really receive a return on their investment. When you weigh that with the few staying short term and not paying, you will be in the black.

We can also talk about the pension system. Last I heard foreigners could get most of their money back if they leave sometime around the third year, but you have a program where foreigners stay 5 years. How much of that pension will go to them? At the moment I'm sure it is none unless they are from a country which already has a treaty with Japan, but the countries you are plucking most of the workers from don't fall under this.

NHK also looks to gain a lot of money from people who won't get much out of their programming.

Not to say you should't do something about those skipping out on their hospital bills, but your reporting is not balanced at all.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Think about all the young healthy foreigners you'll be bringing in and then kicking out after 5 years.

It has been repeatedly reported that foreign workers coming into Japan have high rates of tuberculosis and other contagious diseases. If they are poor enough that coming to work in Japan as "slave labour" is attractive, they probably have not been getting good medical care in their home countries even if such is available.

Foreign guest workers saddled with debt by Japanese recruiters

Just the opposite. Typically they owe debts to brokers in their home countries. That is why they cannot return to their home country even if they are exploited in Japan. This has come up repeatedly in both English and Japanese language news stories.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

These foreign workers will be forced to pay for Japanese medical insurance and therefore they will be entitled to use the medical system. This is entirely different from tourists who arrive without medical insurance.

They will also be forced to pay contributions towards a pension they will never receive (if they are kicked out before they reach ten years of contributions).

If people like the author of this article don't want non-Japanese to receive the benefits that they are forced to pay for then the obvious solution is to exempt non-Japanese from the pension and medical premiums and make them buy their own insurance before issuing them with a visa. Of course, this will never happen because the truth is that young, non-Japanese workers will be subsidising elderly, unproductive Japanese through these taxes.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

A huge can of worms is on the verge of being opened in Japan!

0 ( +1 / -1 )



What are the Japanese health care unpaid debt in foreign countries ?

Discrimination journalist tend to forget anything that balance the debt unfairness. According to my experience, rich countries leave unpaid debt more than the poorest one because they are the only one who can travel.



2 ( +2 / -0 )

I dont really understand why the bills left unpaid.. , typically if one doesnt have valid local medical insurance .. they have to settle all bills when leaving hospital ( actually also if one has it but at much smaller amount ) and typically get refunded later if actually entitled to local insurance.. since JP doesnt have juis solis ( which is great ) ,it seems to me entirely a problem of these hospitals , they simply should demand payment on the spot in all cases and bring police if the person is refusing.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

the only thing immigration should enforce, is any tourists coming should have valid international insurance, no exceptions at all ( even using proper credit card guarantees you one , so there is really no excuse )

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

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