May 31, 2013 18:25 JST

Source: The American Chamber of Commerce in Japan (ACCJ)

Business Leaders Propose Health Policies to Promote Economic Growth in Japan
-- ACCJ and EBC healthcare reform proposals would lengthen healthy lifespans and lower the economic burden of disease
-- Over 150 policy recommendations for greater emphasis on prevention and early detection based on global evidence and best practices
-- 36 topic areas for increasing labor force productivity and lowering worker disability and absenteeism

TOKYO, May 31, 2013 - (ACN Newswire) - The American Chamber of Commerce in Japan (ACCJ) and the European Business Council in Japan (EBC) today released a health policy white paper aimed at supporting economic growth in Japan through policies to lengthen healthy lifespans and reduce the economic burden of preventable, detectible and treatable disease.

Titled "Lengthening Healthy Lifespans to Boost Economic Growth," the white paper combines the latest best practices and evidence from members of the ACCJ's Healthcare Committee and the EBC's Medical Equipment Committee. The white paper was developed over a one-year period and includes evidence-based policy recommendations across 36 healthcare topic areas, including both chronic diseases like cardiovascular disease, cancer and mental illness and infectious diseases like hepatitis and tuberculosis.

At a press conference announcing the white paper, ACCJ President Laurence W. Bates said, "If adopted, these new policy proposals would not only lower the social and economic burden of disease but would also support Japanese economic growth by increasing worker productivity and lowering disability and absenteeism." Bates went on to say, "According to a 2011 ACCJ study, disease causes an estimated 3.3 trillion yen in economic losses each year in Japan due to decreased worker productivity and higher levels of absenteeism and disability."

The proposals span a wide variety of areas, including improvement in wellness through healthier lifestyles, prevention of disease through greater vaccination, early detection of disease through greater screening of high-risk populations, early treatment of chronic disease, and the need for enhanced healthcare worker safety and prevention of healthcare associated infection.

"These recommendations are offered as a first step toward appropriate policy change in Japan that will help prevent or detect diseases earlier. I am excited that ACCJ and EBC are working together to enhance the already high standard of the Japanese healthcare system," said Duco B. Delgorge, Chairman, EBC.

Many forms of infectious and chronic disease can be prevented or detected early, but health policies in Japan have traditionally focused on the treatment of disease after it occurs or grows critical, which can result in higher treatment costs.

"The white paper includes 156 policy recommendations that the ACCJ and EBC believe would increase the average number of years that Japanese people live without disease or disability. The recommendations are not meant to represent a comprehensive overview, but are examples of policies likely to yield significant positive impact," said William Bishop, Chair, ACCJ Healthcare Committee.

"We believe policy changes like these are critical to improving patient outcomes and saving lives, as well as increasing medical treatment cost efficiency and boosting workforce productivity as the population ages in coming years," said Danny Risberg, Chair, EBC Medical Equipment Committee.

Japan is experiencing unprecedented growth in the number of people over 65 years of age - the group that traditionally accounts for the majority of healthcare spending. With a growing number of people over 65 and fewer workers to support Japan's universal healthcare system, it has become increasingly important for Japan to shift to a prevention paradigm that focuses on wellness, prevention, screening, early diagnosis and early treatment - an approach that can provide not only better patient outcomes and higher worker productivity, but significant cost savings.

The White Paper can be downloaded at:

Policy proposals span the following areas:

General Health
- Economic Burden of Disease
- Non-Communicable Disease
- Vaccination
- In Vitro Diagnostic Testing
- Healthcare IT
- Home Medical Care
- Food with Health Benefits
- Influenza and Other Biological Disasters

- Tobacco Control
- Vision Health
- Oral Care
- Sleep Apnea Syndrome
- Diabetes
- Stroke
- Peripheral Arterial Disease
- Musculo-Skeletal Disorders
- Chronic Pain
- Mental Illness
- iNPH
- Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm
- Carotid Plaque Detection

Women's Health
- Osteoporosis
- Breast Cancer
- Cervical Cancer

Infectious Disease
- Hepatitis B
- Hepatitis C
- Tuberculosis
- HIV Examination
- Sexually Transmitted Infections
- Infection Control
- Healthcare-Associated Infections
- Closed vs. Open Systems
- Skin Antisepsis
- Bloodstream Infections
- Avoiding Reuse of Single-Use Devices

Health Worker Safety
- Needle Stick and Sharp Object Injuries
- Safe Handling of Hazardous Drugs

About ACCJ

The American Chamber of Commerce in Japan (ACCJ) was established in 1948 by representatives of 40 American companies and has grown into one of the most influential business organizations in Japan. Consisting mainly of executives from American companies, the ACCJ has members representing over 1,000 companies with offices in Tokyo, Nagoya, and Osaka. Working closely with the governments of the United States and Japan and other business organizations, the ACCJ promotes trade and investment flows between the United States and Japan, promoting the interests of U.S. companies and members, and improving the environment for international business in Japan. Over 60 committees representing various industries play a central role in making ACCJ policy recommendations by issuing Viewpoints, Public Comments and White Papers and holding over 500 events and seminars annually on public policy and economic trends. The ACCJ also undertakes charitable efforts and supports its members' CSR activities.

About EBC

The European Business Council in Japan (EBC) / European (EU) Chamber of Commerce in Japan is the trade policy and advocacy arm of 17 European national chambers of commerce and business associations in Japan. Established in 1972, the EBC works to improve the business and investment environment in Japan. It currently represents more than 3,000 local European companies and individuals, some 400 of whom participate directly in the EBC's 30 sector-based committees.

For inquiries please contact:
Saiko Itoh, Noriyoshi Sudo, Edelman Japan
Tel: +81-3-6858-7711

Source: The American Chamber of Commerce in Japan (ACCJ)
Sectors: Daily News, BioTech

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