Japan Enacts Legislation to Prepare for Future Pandemics

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Tokyo, Dec. 2 (Jiji Press)--The Diet, Japan's parliament, enacted legislation Friday to take steps to prepare for future pandemics, including establishing a new rule obliging major hospitals to offer beds.

The House of Councillors, the Diet's upper chamber, approved the legislation by a majority vote with support mainly from the ruling Liberal Democratic Party and the main opposition Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan. Most of the legislation will take effect in the fiscal year starting April 2024.

Prefectural governments will draw up plans for tackling infectious disease outbreaks, including the numbers of hospital beds that need to be secured. Based on the plans, they will form agreements with hospitals prior to outbreaks.

All hospitals will be obliged to accept talks on forming such agreements, while large-scale hospitals will additionally be required to provide medical services such as fever outpatient services, support for other hospitals and personnel dispatches.

Prefectural governors will be able to recommend or instruct hospitals to comply with the agreements and disclose the names of noncompliant hospitals. Advanced hospitals could face a cut in government-regulated medical service fees paid to them if they violate the agreements.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press