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View Full Version : Japanese doctors paid less than English teachers



Maciamo
Sep 12, 2011, 17:16
I was startled to read in a recent article (http://www.economist.com/node/21528660?fsrc=scn/tw/te/ar/notallsmiles) in the Economist about health care in Japan that specialist doctors in Japan only make about 25 $ per hour. The article doesn't put it this way, but the hint is clear. It mentions doctors making in average 125,000 $ per year, which is approximately 10,000 $ per month, while explaining at the same time that a lot of doctors work 100 hours a week. A quick calculation tells us that this is an average of 25$ per hour, a pittance for someone who has to spend over 10 years in tertiary education. The average foreign English teacher in Japan can easily earn between 3000 and 5000 yen (40 to 65 $) per hour by being self-employed, and 10,000 yen (130 $) for corporate teachers working for big companies. And any native speaker of English can earn that, without any actual teaching qualification or experience, as long as they are good at it.

Some doctors claim to be seeing 100 patients a day, which is a pretty amazing figure. If they devote a meagre 10 minutes for each patient (including transition time between patients and time to write bills and prescriptions), that would equate to working nearly 17 hours a day non-stop, or more like 20 hours a day if we include meal times, short breaks to rest or go to the toilet, and so on. That brings the hourly wage closer to 13 $ (1000 yen) an hour, hardly more than a staff at a fast food chain or convenience store (it's actually the rate night staff get in Japanese convenience stores, often for doing nothing).

Even the better off doctors working "only" 50 hours a week (or seeing some 25 patients per day) are earning about the same per hour as an unqualified English teacher. It's hard to believe, but unless the data quoted in the Economist is completely off-base, Japanese doctors are paid less than good English teachers in Japan. To add salt to the wound, Japanese universities aren't exactly cheap. 30,000 $ per annum is the average cost for a university student. A Japanese doctor starting work in their early 30's will have to work many years to pay back their education. They would only be starting making their own money when they turn 40. In other words their active years in employment would be half of someone starting work at 18 in a convenience store. If they don't earn at least twice more per hour, they will end up poorer at the age of retirement than those who choose the easy path or unqualified staff at 18. It sounds sad, almost outrageous; But that it the way modern Japan seems to be working.

The Economist's article start by praising the low cost of the Japanese health-care system. It's easier to understand once one has done the maths about how little Japanese doctors are paid.


The system is slow to adopt cutting-edge (and therefore costly) treatments. New drugs are approved faster in Indonesia or Turkey, according to the OECD. Few data are collected on how patients respond to treatments. As the Lancet says, prices are heavily regulated but quality is not.

The reason why Japanese people live longer than Westerners has probably little to do with the quality of healthcare, and more to do with genetics (less obesity and cardiovascular diseases, much lower genetic predisposition to alcoholism) and the high-quality of Japanese food (varied, balanced, rich in fish and seafood) and the milder climate (the tropical archipelago of Okinawa has the highest life expectancy in Japan, although it is the poorest and least developed region).

I would also like to add that Japanese doctors usually aren't very good by Belgian or French standards. Being well acquainted with the Japanese expat community in Western Europe, it has come to my attention that a lot of Japanese women choose to get pregnant and give birth while their husbands work as expats in Europe, because European obstetricians are much better than Japanese ones. For one thing, Japanese obstetricians typically refuse that women have an epidural during delivery because, in the chauvinist sadomasochist Japanese mentality, women should feel the pain when they give birth !

I have ranted many years ago (http://www.wa-pedia.com/forum/life-japan-210/japanese-doctors-hospitals-pharmacies-13777/) about Japanese doctors and hospitals from personal experience and how common (http://www.wa-pedia.com/forum/other-news-66/japan-hit-medical-malpractice-5069/) medical malpractice were in the country of the rising sun. It is also a well known fact that all fields of psychology and psychiatry are seriously underdeveloped. Japanese treatments of psychiatric ailments are almost Victorian. It's not unusual to lock up patients with minor disorders in asylums.

Minty
Jan 27, 2012, 12:36
People are saying that they now use Indian English teachers who are much cheaper.

John Jolly
Mar 27, 2012, 16:16
Every one promote own culture then they get perfect growth so in developed countries every
perspective find research and compare well outcomes i success perspectives.