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Expert Roundtable Part 2: “Investments Needed to Improve the Health of the Public” (June 4, 2020)

Expert Roundtable
The Social Security System in the Era of a 100-Year Life Society
– Reconsidering the Healthcare System that Japan Needs in Light of COVID-19 –
“Investments Needed to Improve the Health of the Public”
Part of HGPI’s “Rebalancing Healthcare Systems: Innovation and Sustainability” Series

The Health and Global Policy Institute (HGPI) will hold an expert roundtable to debate policy recommendations on the social security system in the era of a 100-Year Life Society.

*Please note that we will be unable to provide interpretation for this event as it will be held as a webinar. Our sincere apologies for the inconvenience.

The healthcare system has helped the Japanese population to achieve health outcomes and a life expectancy that rank among the best in the world in the approximately 60 years since its creation. However, the sustainability of this system is now being threatened by issues related to demographic shifts such as a population aging and the low birthrate. Furthermore, the healthcare system is currently facing many challenges due to COVID-19. Although Japan has seen relatively fewer deaths from COVID-19 compared to other countries around the world thanks to its expert medical practitioners, medical infrastructure (respirators, PPE and so on), and medical facilities, the crisis has forced the system to face various challenges and social changes. It is important that reforms be promoted that allow the healthcare system to respond adeptly to these issues, while also promoting better health outcomes even during normal times. To that end, it is important to set out broad concepts for reform, and to discuss concrete policy options based on those concepts.

HGPI has been discussing such policy options since 2016 as part of its “Rebalancing Healthcare Systems: Innovation and Sustainability” series. In 2019, HGPI brought together a diverse group of stakeholders together for a series of expert taskforce meetings on the issues facing the Japanese healthcare system. This taskforce discussed recommendations for the Japanese healthcare system based on three concepts: 1) The purpose of the healthcare system should not just be to cure, but to improve the health of the entire population it serves; 2) Money is not “spent” on the healthcare system, it is invested. It produces returns in the form of better health outcomes, increased productivity, and other benefits; 3) That said, it is crucial that waste in the healthcare system be identified and eliminated to ensure the system’s sustainability in the future. HGPI summarized the thinking and discussion of this taskforce into a “Grand Concept on the Reform of the Japanese Healthcare System.” HGPI will hold two roundtables in order to edit and finalize the “Grand Concept” document created based on the taskforce’s broad-based discussions.

To that end, this second roundtable will focus on the theme of “Investments Needed to Improve the Health of the Public.” It will examine issues of efficiency, research and development, and healthcare system expenditures, with special consideration for the social impact of COVID-19, toward the creation of concrete recommendations on the elimination of waste.

The “Grand Concept” document that results from this discussion will included in the forthcoming expert report of HGPI’s taskforce.

■Date and Time

Thursday, June 4, 2020 – 10:30-12:00


This meeting will be held as a Zoom Webinar

■Expected audience

Policymakers, members of relevant Government ministries and agencies, academics, members of the private sector (approximately 60 people)

■Program (tentative)

10:30-10:35 Meeting Explanation

Matt McEnany (Senior Manager, HGPI)

10:35-10:45 Thought Starter Presentation

Hiroshi Nakamura (Professor, Graduate School of Business Administration, Keio University)

10:45-10:55 Thought Starter Presentation

Ataru Igarashi (Associate Professor, Unit of Public Health and Preventive Medicine, Yokohama City University of Medicine)

10:55-11:05 Thought Starter Presentation

Eiko Shimizu (Project Associate Professor, ITHC, Graduate School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, The University of Tokyo)


Roundtable Discussion


We ask that you please register for this event by noon on Friday, May 29, 2020. Spaces in the webinar are limited, so we will be holding a lottery to determine who can join. Results will be announced on Friday, May 29, 2020.

You should receive a confirmation e-mail after you register. If you do not, please contact HGPI by e-mail ( or phone (03-4243-7156).

If you need to cancel your registration, we ask that you please do so by Wednesday, June 3, 2020. Thank you.

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