Foreigners that fail to pay their medical bills will be denied subsequent entry to Japan.
On June 13, Yomiuri published a notice that we found noteworthy enough to be reproduced here.
“In view of recurring incidence of foreign tourists leaving Japan without paying their medical bills, the Government of Japan approved the policy of denying such tourists future entry.
This policy is expected to become effective starting in 2020. It was published on June 14 as part of the government’s concerted effort to streamline the system of rendering medical services to tourists visiting Japan.
According to a 2016 study conducted by the Ministry of Labor and Welfare, 35% of the healthcare facilities that treated tourists and other foreign patients had some of the bills they issued remaining past due for [up to] a year. The number of healthcare facilities concerned about non-payment and other risk has gone up to 64%, in which regard back in March the government began considering a coordinated approach to tackling this issue.
Denial of entry is a measure that is based on immigration law that allows for preventing undesirable aliens from entering Japan. The Ministry of Labor and Welfare will collect from healthcare facilities information about foreign tourists that fail to pay their medical bills, such information to be then forwarded to the Ministry of Justice. In turn, the Ministry of Justice will use this information for immigration purposes.
At the moment, the cutoff unpaid amount that may constitute a reason for denial of entry is being determined. For comparison, in the United Kingdom, such an amount is equal to 500 pounds (about JPY 74,000).
Yet another measure being considered is seeking prior consent from foreign tourists to their personal information being reported to the government if they use healthcare service and fail to pay for them.”