Medicine: What Ails Japan

Statistically, Japanese medicine has much to boast about. Physicians are as numerous as in most Western countries, and life expectancy, at 73 years, is among the highest in the world (the U.S. figure is 71). Credit for this longevity, however, belongs more to diet and innate strength than to professional health care, for Japanese medicine is sick.

In a country noted for personal cleanliness, most hospitals are cramped and dirty. Emergency care is deficient in both quality and quantity. While Japanese technology and industry are flexible, high-energy enterprises, the medical establishment is rigidly...

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