Why screening rates vary between Korea and Japan-Differences between two national healthcare systems

Rei Goto, Chisato Hamashima, Sunghyun Mun, Won Chul Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalShort surveypeer-review

30 Citations (Scopus)


Both Japan and Korea provide population-based screening programs. However, screening rates are much higher in Korea than in Japan. To clarify the possible factors explaining the differences between these two countries, we analyzed the current status of the cancer screening and background healthcare systems. Populationbased cancer screening in Korea is coordinated well with social health insurance under a unified insurer system. In Japan, there are over 3,000 insurers and coordinating a comprehensive strategy for cancer screening promotion has been very difficult. The public healthcare system also has influence over cancer screening. In Korea, public healthcare does not cover a wide range of services. Almost free cancer screening and subsidization for medical cost for cancers detected in population-screening provides high incentive to participation. In Japan, on the other hand, a larger coverage of medical services, low co-payment, and a lenient medical audit enables people to have cancer screening under public health insurance as well as the broad range of cancer screening. The implementation of evidence-based cancer screening programs may be largely dependent on the background healthcare system. It is important to understand the impacts of each healthcare system as a whole and to match the characteristics of a particular health system when designing an efficient cancer screening system.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)395-400
Number of pages6
JournalAsian Pacific Journal of Cancer Prevention
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Cancer screening
  • Health insurance
  • Japan
  • Korea
  • Screening rate

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Oncology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Cancer Research


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