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Monday, 20th December 2010
In Japan Travel News,

Longer visas granted for medical tourists

People travelling to Japan for medical treatment are to be given extended visas from January.

The justice ministry confirmed that the growing demand for such services has lead to the change and the creation of a new visa category - the medical stay visa. Holders will be able to stay for six months rather than the previous three months.

Under the new system, relatives who live in Japan can apply for the new visa status on behalf of non-residents who want to undergo medical treatment.

"We need to drastically lower the barrier on country borders in medicine," explained chief cabinet secretary and justice minister Yoshito Sengoku.

He added that criteria for people working within the medical and healthcare are too strict in Japan and that too many barriers block medical exchange with other countries.

It is expected that the move could make Japan more attractive to those travelling to the region for medical tourism reasons and help the industry compete with developing healthcare markets in South Korea and Singapore.

Written by Mark Smith.