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Japanese hospitals cut staff bonuses as coronavirus drives them into the red

By Rocky Swift

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Abe should send them checks first.

18 ( +21 / -3 )

It's truly shameful, that he most important people on the front lines of this pandemic not only have to endure discriminations for doing their jobs but now paycuts to their already low salaries. While the corrupt leadership is taking the country to the dogs. Literally.

36 ( +37 / -1 )

Have the hospital administrators refused their own (generous, sizeable) summer bonuses?

20 ( +22 / -2 )

What kind of incentive is cutting funds to the people who are saving lives? This makes no sense. Am I right?

14 ( +17 / -3 )

What a double whammy!

Japanese people should ask the reasons of the existence of their government.

25 ( +26 / -1 )

The Japanese "bonus" system is a joke. They should call it what it really is, a "penalty" system.

20 ( +22 / -2 )

Really sad for the staff, who generally works hard in medical institutions.

But if these are run privately. I do not think the government can intervene.

I thought most had already cash prepared in the bank for the bonus. It seems that is not the case

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Yes, all this while Abe, Nishimura, Kato, all the bureaucrats, the politicians, and the indicted Kawai and his wife Anri all received their summer bonuses.

14 ( +14 / -0 )

Asking wrong question - more appropriate to ask what percentage of staff with cancelled bonuses are foreigners.

-13 ( +1 / -14 )

"NHS...with everything free"

Why state something so ridiculously untrue, easily verifiable?!

"When you need to pay towards NHS care

Patients often need to pay towards the cost of:


dental care

eye care

wigs and fabric supports"

Incidentally I had to pay for a prescription issued for by my GP.



-3 ( +5 / -8 )

Sh1mon M4sada.... I can answer that for you..

The bonus cut is across the board, doctors, nurses, technicians, cleaners and teaching staff at medical universities run by the hospitals. As the exams for doctors, nurses and technicians is in Japanese and overseas qualifications and not valid, there are few foreigners in these positions. The foreigner staff employed as carers and cleaners will get a bonus cut...If they were getting a bonus in the first place.

11 ( +12 / -1 )

So health is a business only activity ?

Shame shame shame.

10 ( +13 / -3 )

I would quit, in that scenario. They say bonus but it's not bonus as in the western sense of the word. My husband, without his bi-annual bonuses, would be making the same salary as a regular office worker even though he has a PHD. It's part of the salary. If they take it away they're just reducing your salary... by a lot.

15 ( +17 / -2 )

Is it hospitals what we are talking about? Or also the small medial clinics that are everywhere?

Anyway, they both always loooked like a profitable business to me, charging exhorbitant prices for everything.

What are the operating costs of these places that they cannot stay in business after a couple of months of crisis?

7 ( +9 / -2 )

I can't believe this, it's not like a hospital is not needed although their Buisness model is obviously disfuncianal and that appears to be the problem we pay tax for health insurance where did that go? These people get peanuts for what we assume is an essential service that we fund....now reduced bonus their bonus is also essential as it's the only way to make ends meet. Just when you think the government is vile they take to a new level. Education, health that's what they need to worry about, I did assume I pay tax for that.

12 ( +12 / -0 )


So it is called a malus and @Fizzy is right.

What counts is what you can be assured to get in your pocket each month guaranteed.

Bonus has never depended in Japan about your work performance.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

Hospital staff get bonuses? That seems crazy.

Heck, everywhere I worked for 30+ yrs there were no "bonuses" that were expected. Not for a new year, Xmas, Summer vacation. Stock or stock options were part of the compensation packages and if someone did amazing work on a project, well beyond what was expected, they might get an added stock option grant, but never cash. We got our salaries, as expected. Anything beyond that wasn't expected. Those bonuses that we hear about for, already overpaid, NYC bankers just piss off everyone else.

Do farmers get a bonus for summer vacation too? What about the field hands or the waitresses?

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

It's truly shameful, that he most important people on the front lines of this pandemic not only have to endure discriminations for doing their jobs but now paycuts to their already low salaries. While the corrupt leadership is taking the country to the dogs. Literally.

Best post I've read in a while! 100% on the money

10 ( +11 / -1 )

Downside of preparing and reserving beds for covid-19, loss of income for the usual procedures they do

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

At one of the places I work, the guys were telling me this week that this year’s summer bonus is normal. Next year, however, they’re looking at a sizable cut.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Shame on this government for allowing this to happen!

5 ( +5 / -0 )

So, the staff worked their socks off, risking their own lives, to care for Covid patients and the hospital cancels their bonus. They will struggle to make any money without any underpaid nurses to provide the care. Good for them for leaving.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

I think Many people have already been suffering reduced bonus or cut of over time work payment.

It’s very strange that each member of the congress (more than 700 ) had been given over 3 million yen at this bonus.

Their salary have 40-50 million yen / year including all allowances.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

@Mr Kipling - not disagreeing with you. But there are doctors from a number of countries who has bilateral recognition of qualification with Japan working in Japanese hospitals currently. They are qualified to treat foreign nationals only, and no foreign nationals due to covid, no bonuses is where I'm heading with this.

I hope you're right, but these foreign doctors aren't exactly well remunerated in the first place.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Shameful. Hospitals and their staff are the first ones who should have received support as early as February or March. They get nothing while Abe and his fellow crooks are busy stuffing their pockets with taxpayers' stimulus money.

Why do these essential workers during a pandemic get nothing? And where is Kato in all of this? Haven't heard from him in months.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

According to The Commonwealth Fund, 85% of hospitals in Japan are private: "As of 2016, 15 percent of hospitals are owned by national or local governments or closely related agencies. The rest are private and nonprofit, some of which receive subsidies because they’ve been designated public interest medical institutions."


5 ( +5 / -0 )

Really sad for the staff, who generally works hard in medical institutions. But if these are run privately. I do not think the government can intervene.

In other news: The Tokyo metropolitan government will give 500,000 yen to nightclubs and other venues -- including so-called host and hostess bars -- if they close for more than 10 days, local media reported.

If the Tokyo government is willing to pay ¥500,000 to hostess bars and nightclubs in Kabuki-cho (owned and run by you know whom) to stay closed for more than 10 days, they should pay medical staff bonuses and hospitals to stay open.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

This is a perfect example of why health care should not be a for-profit enterprise.

3 ( +5 / -2 )


How so? I don't see the connection.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

How much you want to bet that the people at the top have yet to cut their bonuses? Anyway, I have little pity for the hospitals, but a lot for the staff and of course the patients who are going to suffer as a result of this idiotic, private sector system. How about taking, say, one tenth of the Aegis radar system money, or one one-hundredth of the 5 BILLION dollars Japan is giving the US for fighter jets that will end up being defective, and put that towards the nurses and doctors, and health care in general? Nope? You'd rather give it to land-locked African countries instead in the hopes of future infrastructure deals the Chinese will get?

The sad part is that when the hospitals are bailed out, that money will go to administrative bonuses first... then they'll forget to trickle down, and will still be able to reject potential Covid patients.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

@Black Sabbath we pay mandatory health insurance tax, it should be that money is spent on health care that is well subsidised. The government flings so much money on non beneficial waistful projects. And cut spending on things that need spending. If medical staff can't actually be paid appropriately for their skills cutting their bonus is not just mean spirited but obscene.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

From leaving home to their return, Japanese nurses can be outside their home for 12-13 hours at a time, even with a commuting time of 30 minutes.

On some shifts, they won’t get home until 2am!

If they happen to be on duty when there is some mishap then they are required to submit a report.

If they make a mistake with injections or drugs then patients may die!

They also have to clean wounds, farces, urine

bed sores, etc.

The increasing dementia found in older patients means that night work is just like the day when some patients will not sleep at all!

It is an exceedingly stressful and ill compensated task.

I have complete understanding why they are quitting in droves....

7 ( +7 / -0 )

The Japanese "bonus" system is a joke.

It's been a bad joke to all the non-regular/part-time workers for decades.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Something needs to be done about this before the day is over.

Can't imagine the frustrations the healthcare workers must be experiencing.

Working very hard unappreciated and literally risking their lives, kids being excludef and ostracized; and then this, reduced pay at the end of the day.

It would be good if they only retired from their jobs, hopefully no one decides to retire from life

3 ( +3 / -0 )

As other posters say, this should not happen.

By the way, while public health systems are definitely the correct way, the best system in the world is not Britain's NHS. That's a myth only British people believe. Other advanced countries have better systems, that are more efficient and/or provide better care. If you need a routine operation like cataracts or a hip replacement, Japan's health system is better, because you won't have a year on a waiting list as with the NHS.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Private hospitals receive govt subsidies.

Pay the "bonuses" or lose the subsidies.

Better yet, nationalise the private hospitals.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Kohakuebisu not sure about that, what other advanced countries? Japan's system is without a pandemic functionality working. Its costs every tax payer a lot, so should work well. One or the reasons for not testing was it would overwhelm the health care system. The lack of staff the abysmal poor pay and conditions are not what I want when forced to pay for it. Look I think it works when in dire straits, although my daughter needed an ambulance and we were waiting for 20min while they phoned hospitals. The system sucks. I took her in our car. The system is too complicated takes too long. The ambulance crew could do nothing but watch me take her to hospital, that's their job! Never trust the system you will be dead before it functions.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

I don't get it. The government wants to give money for people to travel, but they don't give money to help save hospitals, which seems to be the rational thing to do during a pandemic. I hope Abe is not going into denial like Trump.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

This is on par with a previous article that stated worker take home wages were reduced the last few months because of less overtime being paid. If the workers, be it nurses or the average salaryman have to rely on semi-annual bonuses/overtime pay for living, then there's something wrong with the system.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Anyway bonus should be a reward for extra hard work, finishing difficult task or going beyond.

Thats just way too subjective. Plus, many Japanese would interpret that as staying late at work, something they do anyways.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Tokyo-M speaks of the 'beloved' NHS in his country, but after clapping for the carers, the British government have said said it was ‘not the time’ to talk about a pay rise for doctors & nurses, cancelled free staff parking at hospitals and blamed care workers for COVID deaths in care homes. So much difference at all really.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

What a joke.

“Hey medical staff, you’re gonna risk your life everyday that you remained employed here. You’re gonna work triple your regular hours and have less break times and holidays. And by the way, no bonus! Happy OBON!”

2 ( +2 / -0 )

The UK NHS is a fantastic achievement of mankind, the truest kind of socialism in a way. And as others have pointed out, in the UK an ambulance will actually take you to a hospital quickly and the GP system means all your medical notes are in one place and treatment can be coordinated. The Japanese system is way behind on both those crucial points.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Zichi, the corona virus crisis aside, in the NHS there is a two week max window from seeing your GP to seeing a cancer specialist. I speak from experience. I don’t have to pay anything neither.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Hospital staff get bonuses? That seems crazy.

Bonus is a slang term. In formal Japanese it is seasonal adjustment 季節手当.

All manner of regular workers get them including those in government and in the non-profit sector.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

While the corrupt leadership is taking the country to the dogs. Literally.

How so? The hospitals' problem is that they are private sector, as in NOT government run, as in the UK and many other countries. So blame the "leadership" of the hospitals, not the govt. Its the independent and private-sector hospital boards who are implementing the exploitative cuts, not the govt.

Indeed, the Japanese govt's response to Covid-19 has been pretty good by international standards. Let's put blame where blame is due.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Present Japan is going into Covid19 second wave.

But Abe government of Japan only tries to understate it, and they have no intention to do something against second wave.

Shamefully, they prioritize to use 1.7 trillion yen for domestic travel campaign than supporting medical staff who continue to fight against Covid-19.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The reimbursement costs from the Japanese national health insurance are nowhere near as high as other countries. Yes, most hospitals are private, but they are not bloodsuckers like in the US. Margins are not big and administrators are not paid more than doctors. They might make 25 million yen per year. Administrators in medium size hospitals in the US can make $5million or more per year.

Every little dentist in the US feels entitled to make at least $1 million per year. Doctors are well paid in Japan, but not at the 100-400 million yen per year level. A well-experienced surgeon makes about 30-35 million yen per year.

The economics of hospitals is that emergency rooms, ICU's, high-cost isolation wards are money losers. The hospitals make their money on high-tech testing and elective procedures like joint replacements and other orthopedic procedures, etc. So, if hospitals are doing more ER, ICU, isolation and less elective procedures, they're going to lose money.

It's the same throughout the world.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

@ Zichi

I hope you get back on track!

And it is worth it (in my case) to have extra insurance which kicks in if I am hospitalized.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

You don't think that this will happen elsewhere in the World ?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

British people claim the NHS is the best in the world but that's mainly compared to the predatory for-profit mess in the USA that bankrupts tens of millions of people. Compared to other countries with public health systems, NHS scores very well on certain aspects and poorly on others, like A&E and waiting lists. It is certainly not above all criticism.


Zichi has described his personal experience for us and half the votes on his comment are downvotes (!) It looks like some people don't like to listen.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Very strange ways of operations.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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