What Can America Learn From Japan?
Category : Bold Essays Writing
What Can America Learn From Japan?
What Can America Learn From Japan?
As the week’s resources reveal, the Japanese experience demonstrates the importance of cultural issues, such as caring and sharing, that profoundly influence health outcomes. Without considering culture, one cannot begin to explain why Japan is the world’s healthiest nation on most mortality indicators despite having a high proportion of men smoking and the highest rates of low-birth weight babies among rich nations.
Furthermore, health outcomes in Japan are significantly better than those in the U.S., even though the U.S. spends much more on health care. What can the U.S. learn from this country?
To prepare for this Discussion, review your Learning Resources on Japan’s health status.
By Day 4, post a brief analysis of how reconstruction after World War II contributed to Japan’s contemporary health status. Then, summarize one significant political feature and one legal feature of Japan’s contemporary health care system that contributes to Japan’s population health status. Offer two reasons (historical, political, legal, and/or cultural) for the disparity between the Japanese and American populations in health achievement. Finally, suggest two lessons other countries can learn from the Japanese experience to improve their own health status. Expand on your insights utilizing the Learning Resources.
Use APA formatting for your Discussion and to cite your resources.
USE THE DISCUSSION RUBRIC:
I. Discussion posting demonstrates an excellent understanding of all of the concepts and key points presented in the text/s and Learning Resources.
II. Posting provides significant detail including multiple relevant examples, evidence from the readings and other scholarly sources, and discerning ideas.
III. Postings are well organized, use scholarly tone, contain original writing and proper paraphrasing, follow APA style, contain very few or no writing and/or spelling errors, and are fully consistent with graduate-level writing style.
ANSWER THE FORFOLLOWING DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:
1. A brief analysis of how reconstruction after World War II contributed to Japan’s contemporary health status.
2. Then, summarize one significant political feature and one legal feature of Japan’s contemporary health care system that contributes to Japan’s population health status.
3. Offer two reasons (historical, political, legal, and/or cultural) for the disparity between the Japanese and American populations in health achievement.
4. Finally, suggest two lessons other countries can learn from the Japanese experience to improve their own health status. Expand on your insights utilizing the Learning Resources.
1.Bezruchka, S., Namekata, T., & Sistrom, M. G. (2008). Interplay of politics and law to promote health: Improving economic equality and health: The case of postwar Japan. American Journal of Public Health, 98(4), 589–594.
Retrieved from the Walden Library databases.
2.Kawachi, I., Fujisawa, Y., & Takao, S. (2007). The health of Japanese—What can we learn from America? Japanese National Institute of Public Health, 56(2), 114–121. Retrieved from http://www.niph.go.jp/journal/data/56-2/200756020009.pdf
3.Laureate Education (Producer). (2011). Global health and issues in disease prevention [Multimedia file]. Retrieved from https://class.waldenu.edu
“Health Status in Japan,” featuring Stephen Bezruchka, MD
Health Status in Japan Program Transcript
DR. STEPHEN BEZRUCHKA: Japan turns out to be the longest-lived country in the world by a substantial margin. Yet, in 1950, Japan was farther behind in the rankings of countries by health indicators than the United States is today. Remember, back then the United States was one of the healthiest. So what’s happened is we’ve kind of traded places with Japan. But why is that? Why is it that Japan rose from being less healthy than we are today, compared to other countries, to becoming the healthiest country today, while we’ve slipped behind.
So, it was a fascinating exercise for me to try and put together the reasons for that. After the Second World War, Japan, was devastated. It was destroyed. The United States went there as the leader of the Allied Forces and occupied Japan for five years. Someone I call the world’s greatest population health doctor, Douglas MacArthur, an Army five-star general, was the person who orchestrated policies during the occupation of Japan that enabled it to become the healthiest country in the world. What might those policies have been?
Well the prescription for this population medicine had three ingredients. Each ingredient began with a “D”, demilitarization, democratization, and decentralization. So Japan was forbidden to have an army. Douglas MacArthur wrote a peace clause into its constitution, and said they will always resolve disputes peacefully. Not a bad idea, I think. Democratization, Japan was given a democratic constitution. Everyone was given the right to vote.
The constitution had a public health clause in it, saying the government shall do everything it can to improve the health of the people. Everyone will have the basic standards of a decent and cultured life. Women were given equal status to men. There was universal education that was free. All of these provisos in their constitution that changed the situation that Japan had before the Second World War. Decentralization was the idea that before the Second World War, Japan was sort of ruled by thirteen big corporations and they fear mongered the people into hating everyone else and to wanting to go to war. And in fact, that’s what happened.
Remember, the Japanese invaded Pearl Harbor. MacArthur, when he saw the situation after the war, said, having such big concentrations of wealth and power in these thirteen family corporations, and also remember, Japan was a rice farming economy, so 37,000 landowners owned all the land in Japan and some 50 million peasants farmed that land, and MacArthur wrote in his memoirs that you can’t have such concentrations of wealth and power and have a democracy.
So he broke up the thirteen “Zaibatsu,” or family corporations, and he legislated the most successful land reform program in history. He bought the land from the landowners at a fixed price per hectare, and sold it to the tenants at the same price per hectare and gave the tenants a 30-year, very low interest loan. Japanese don’t like debt and they actually paid their loans off mostly within a year. And 94% of all the land in Japan changed hands. It was phenomenal. What it did was collapse the difference in economic wealth and power in the country.
And as I said before, more equal societies are healthier societies. So that kind of jump-started the most rapid improvement in the health of populations that we’ve ever seen on the planet before or since. So by constructing the society so that they had leveled the gaps between those with too much power and those with not enough, this enabled Japan to catch up with all the other countries and surpass them.
So remember I talked about population level factors and this is a perfect example in Japan because, as I mentioned, Japan smokes the most–men smoke the most, not women–in Japan of all rich countries. And having the structure in place in society to make it a more egalitarian–economically egalitarian–society, allows personal behaviors that may not be so healthy to take place and not undermine its population health status as much as it otherwise would. Now if the Japanese smoked less, they’s be even healthier. And I expect that that’s happening since they are cutting back on their smoking a great deal.
There’s another important factor in Japan. Because once you begin to look at various health indicators, just as I mentioned the smoking one, Japan breaks a lot of rules. That is, they have high percentage of low birth weight babies, even higher than the United States, and yet their outcomes for their low birth weight babies are very, very good. And a whole host of other factors play into that.
There’s something about cultures in Japanese society that is incredibly important. And you might reflect upon your own experience with Japanese, either that you see over here, or if you’ve been to Japan. Do you ever see a lone Japanese tourist? No. They’re always together. Do you ever see an individual pursuing something who’s a Japanese? No they work collectively. And they have a term for this, “Wa”, or social harmony. And they see it as more important that they have a well, cohesive, functioning group than individuals sort of have their way.
Turns out that when you were when you have a group focus or a group mentality, it’s better for everyone. And so this principle of social harmony in Japan really enables it to succeed in so many health outcomes, and that’s something that we can learn in the Unites States as well. So Japan is an incredible case study on how you can produce health in a society, and you’ll find it really challenging to address these ideas.
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