Vaccination and Travel Information for Japan

JAPAN

 Information current as at:  February 2009 by The D2 Medical centre No 1 Fitzwilliam Street upper dublin 2 Ph 6314500. The experts in travel vaccines Dublin 2.


Climate: Except for the Hokkaido area and the subtropical Okinawa region, the weather is mostly temperate, with four seasons. Winters are cool and sunny in the south, cold and sunny around Tokyo (which occasionally has snow), and very cold around Hokkaido, which is covered in snow for up to four months a year. Summer, between June and September, ranges from warm to very hot, while spring and autumn are generally mild throughout the country. Rain falls throughout the year but June and early July is the main rainy season. Hokkaido, however, is much drier than the Tokyo area. Rainfall is intermittent with sunshine. Typhoons are only likely to occur in September or October but rarely last more than a day.
Capital City: Tokyo
Altitude: 10 m
Main Cities: Kyoto, Osaka, Nagoya, Sapporo, Yokohama
Population: 126,549,976
Land Area (sq km): 377,800
Currency: 1 yen = 100 sen
Languages: Japanese, Korean, Chinese
Religions: Shinto, Buddhist, Christian
Economy: Manufacturer: cars, motorcycles, ships, electronics, textiles



 The D2 Medical advises all travellers to be 'up-to-date' for:

CHOLERA Immunisation is neither required nor recommended.
DIPHTHERIA We recommend the initial childhood series of vaccinations in the first five years of life, with booster doses at ages 11 years, 45 years, and 65 years. Travellers are recommended to have the vaccine 10 yearly esp. if travelling to developing countries, or where there may be a risk of contracting the disease.

HEPATITIS 'A' Immunisation is recommended but not compulsory.


HEPATITIS 'B' Immunisation is recommended for travellers who will be in the area for 1 month or more.
Transmission of Hepatitis B is through sex or contact with contaminated blood, needles and syringes.


JAP.B.ENCEPHALITIS Immunisation is recommended for travellers who will be in rural or remote areas for 1 month or more at a time.


POLIO Adults who are travelling to areas where poliomyelitis cases are occurring, or where the contracting the disease is possible, and who have received a primary series with either IPV or OPV should receive another dose of IPV before departure. For adults, available data do not indicate the need for more than a single lifetime booster dose with IPV.



RABIES Immunisation is neither required nor recommended.
TUBERCULOSIS (TB) Immunisation is not compulsory, and is not recommended for adults.
Children should be immunised at any age.
A skin test is available if immune status is in doubt.


TETANUS We recommend the initial childhood series of vaccinations in the first five years of life, with booster doses at ages 11 years, 45 years, and 65 years. Travellers are recommended to have the vaccine 10 yearly esp. if travelling to developing countries, or where there may be a risk of contracting the disease.

TYPHOID FEVER Immunisation is recommended for travellers to remote or rural areas for a month or more at a time.


YELLOW FEVER No vaccination requirements for any international traveller.




Malaria is not present in any area of this country.




GENERAL
Adequate to excellent medical care is available in the major population centers, but it is usually very limited or unavailable in rural areas. Japan has a national health insurance system, which is only available to foreigners with long-term visas for Japan. National health insurance does not pay for medical evacuation or medical care outside of Japan. Medical caregivers in Japan require payment in full at the time of treatment or concrete proof of ability to pay before treating a foreigner who is not a member of the national health insurance plan. Some medicines are in short supply or locally unobtainable. Medical and dental treatment can be expensive.

Banned Medications: Travellers to Japan should be aware that some Vicks Inhalers (the commonly available nasal decongestant medication), AND OTHER MEDICATIONS AS WELL contain a substance, 1-desoxyephedrine or pseudoephedrine, which is banned for use or possession under Japan's strictly enforced Anti Stimulant Drugs Law. Vicks Inhalers purchased outside of Japan should not be brought into Japan. If it is deemed necessary for travellers to carry the medication then a doctor’s certificate for the medication would be prudent.

Air pollution is a major problem in Osaka, Tokyo, and Yokohama.

HEALTH, ACCIDENTS AND INSURANCE
Accidents and injuries are the leading cause of death among travellers under the age of 55. Most are caused by motor vehicle and motorcycle crashes; and to a lesser degree, drowning, aircraft crashes, murders, and burns.

Heart attacks cause most fatalities in older travellers, but infections cause only 1% of fatalities in overseas travellers. Generally, infections are the most common cause of travel-related illness.

Travellers are advised to obtain, before departure, travel health insurance with specific overseas coverage. The policy should include a medical evacuation benefit. Check for any exclusions that are part of the policy, and keep in mind that many insurance policies have terrorism exclusion clauses. The D2 Medical recommends that the policy also provide 24-hour access to an assistance centre that can help arrange and monitor delivery of medical care, and determine if air ambulance services are required.


                                                                                                                                                                    DR JOHN J RYAN MEDICAL DIRECTOR

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