Why Chinese medical tourists are heading to Japan

Most Chinese medical travellers used to go to Japan for therapy and health checks, but now some are seeking surgery or cancer treatment.

The number of Chinese medical tourists going to Japan is increasing.

Hibikojyo is a medical service agency based in Tokyo with offices in several cities in China, including Beijing and Shanghai. The agency says they have seen increased numbers as more Japanese hospitals have an appetite for medical tourism and are offering a wider range of services.

Japanese medical services are mostly of a high quality, but the customer care aspect is still poor. Prices are high but many Chinese travellers tend not to seek the lowest prices. While Japanese patients have subsidised prices, medical tourists pay the full cost, and more.

According to the guidelines by the Ministry of Economy hospitals may charge foreign patients for additional expenses such as for services and documentation fees.

While South Korea was the leading overseas destination for Chinese cosmetic surgery tourists, low quality procedures and agency rip offs have lost Chinese business to Japan.

The language barrier means that few Chinese patients arrange their own trips, relying on package deals from Chinese or Japanese medical tourism agencies.