View Full Version : Pro & cons off living in Japan or in Europe - Cost of medical care & education

Jan 16, 2004, 12:47
Having a baby in Japan is a costly business. I was told that the average hospital fee just for the delivery itself was 500.000 yen (about 5000 US$ at current rate). This is for people who have a health insurance, as almost everyone in Japan does anyway.

This seems absolutely amazing to me, as the same maternity hospitalisation is much cheaper or even free in Europe (depends on the country) for anyone who has a health insurance. Right now I only have the data for Belgium (probably the same in the Netherlands and France...) and it cost about 1000 euro/US$ with a regular government health insurance, but is virtually free with an additional private insurance.

What is more, education in Japan can also be quite expensive. Whereas everything is free (except books and stationary...) from nursery school to university in most European countries (at least in the EU, don't know about Eastern Europe), a Japanese nursery school can already cost over 200.000yen/month (=2000US$). There are public and private primary/elementary, secondary/high school and universities in Japan, which have very different rates (though still not free for the public ones). Not sure exactly how much they all cost, but Japanese universities charge at least 800.000yen/year and up to 3 million yen/year (30.000US$).

So when adding up everything, the necessary bugdet to have a child in Japan for a regular 20-year education (from nursery to uni., so 2 to 22) + childbirth, without food, clothing, toys, leisure activities and medical care, would be around 15 million yen (15.000US$) just. All this money can be saved (for each child) by living in Europe instead of Japan. 15 million yen is the cost of a 2DK flat/apartment in Tokyo or a 4 to 6-room house in a smaller city. So a family with 4 children could buy 4 big houses in the Japanese country-side if they decided not to have children.
Even keeping children at home until 6 year-old (compulsory education age), sending them to public schools if they don't go to college/university, the cheapest way probably still cost over 3 million yen, enough to buy a Mercedes or BMW, or travel around the world for a few years as a backpacker.

When we know that even buying a house in no financial security in this earthquake-ridden country, it is no wonder that the average Japanese are so worried about money and their future.

So where to live ?

All-in-all, we could say that the quality of life is inferior in Japan compared to Europe (though not the US, which also have expensive medical care and education). Add to this the poor quality of Japanese houses (non insulated cardboard/wood or concrete construction) and the comparatively low quality of medical care (Japanese doctors are among the worst and most incapable I have ever seen in any country I have been, even compared to India).

However living in Tokyo has numerous attractions almost unequalled anywhere else in the world. Salaries are 3x higher than the Japanese or European average (though that includes top executives salaries, as about 80% of big Japanese companies have their HQ in Tokyo). It's safe, convenient (24h combini at every corner, lots of train/underground lines, plenty of shopping), the food is great (and restaurants are quite cheap), people are kind and respectful (that works for all Japan), events are numerous and whatever exist can be found, including the best mobile phone and electronics technology in the world. Incidentally, the weather is better than anywhere in Northern Europe, although a bit too humid in summer.

Actually, this is enough to make me want to stay for years in Tokyo. The European system is good for people who a house and children.
But once I have children on my own, where would I want to live ? This remains a very difficult question...

Feel free to share your experiences regarding the pro and cons of living in Japan or whatever other country you have lived in.

Jan 17, 2004, 07:42
my city has the fifth largest crime rate in the nation.

Jan 17, 2004, 23:20
If people get something free, they waste it or use too much with abandon. Like paper at my work site. We have tons of "free" paper. You see soo many people waste it.

Jan 18, 2004, 14:06
Additional information

Tokyo's most prestigious international schools charge 17.500US$/year + about 500.000yen (5000US$) in one-time registration fee.

Sources : Metropolis #511 (http://metropolis.japantoday.com/tokyo/511/feature.asp)

Jan 28, 2012, 02:26
So how much the Japanese pay for their healthcare annually?