Health policies and data

OECD Health at a Glance 2009: Key findings for Japan


The OECD’s latest edition of Health at a Glance shows that all countries could do better in providing good quality health care.

Quality of Care

Japan’s survival rates for cervical, breast and colorectal cancer are among the highest in the OECD. This is despite having low screening rates and no national screening programme. Japan does well in avoiding hospital admissions for people with high blood pressure and certain heart problems, but could improve the treatment of people with asthma.


  • In 2007, only 24.5% of eligible women in Japan indicated that they had been screened for cervical cancer during the past year (OECD average 64.0%, although it may be over the past two or three years in several countries), and 23.8% for breast cancer (OECD average 62.2%).
  • The 5-year relative survival rate for cervical cancer during 1999-2004 was 70.6% (2002-2007 OECD average 65.7%). For breast cancer, it was 86.1%, higher than the OECD average of 81.2%.
  • The 5-year relative survival rates for colorectal cancer during 1999-2004 were 68.7% for males and 66.0% for females, among the highest in the OECD.
  • Avoidable hospital admissions for congestive heart failure and hypertension are lower than the OECD average in Japan, but asthma admissions are slightly higher.

Health Expenditure

Japan spent 8.1% of GDP on health in 2006 (latest year available), less than the OECD average of 8.9%. Spending per person is lower than the OECD average. Growth in spending per person over the last decade was also lower.


  • Total health spending accounted for 8.1% of GDP in Japan in 2006, compared with an average of 8.9% across OECD countries. The United States (16.0%), France (11.0%) and Switzerland (10.8%) had high shares.
  • Average spending per person on health in Japan is lower than the OECD average, at 2581 USD in 2006, adjusted for purchasing power parity (OECD average 2984 USD in 2007). Per capita health spending over 1997-2006 grew in real terms by 2.5%, lower than the OECD average of 4.1%.
  • The public sector continues to be the main source of health funding in all OECD countries, except Mexico and the United States. In Japan, 81% of health spending was funded by public sources in 2006, well above the average of 73% for OECD countries. 


  • Journalists are invited to contact the OECD’s Media Relations Division (tel.: 33 1 45 24 97 00 or [email protected]) to obtain a copy of OECD Health at a Glance 2009.
  • For further information about the content of OECD Health at a Glance 2009, please contact Mark Pearson (tel. 33 1 45 24 92 69 or [email protected]) or Gaétan Lafortune (tel. 33 1 45 24 92 67 or [email protected]) in the OECD Health Division.
  • More information on OECD Health at a Glance 2009 is available at
  • For information on OECD's work on Japan, please visit


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