Bringing Up Babies, Toddlers and Children in Japan

Everything for parents with young children living in Japan: with information on health matters, child benefits and childcare...

It is common practice for an obstetrician to oversee a baby's birth. A notification of birth (Shusei Todoke) has to be submitted to the local government office within 14 days and an alien registration card must be applied for within 60 days of birth by the father or mother, if they are both foreigners.

Health Matters

A maternal and child health handbook (Boshi Techo) for expectant mothers is provided by the local government office during pregnancy. All prescribed medications, weight and size measurements are recorded in this handbook.

There are free examinations in local medical centres for babies from three to four months old, six to nine months old, and 18 months old.

A notification letter (which is sent by post) has to be brought to each examination. For examinations that take place in paediatric centres - indicated on the notification letter - an appointment must be made with a paediatrician.

Vaccinations

In private and foreign clinics, parents can choose to follow the vaccination schedule of their home country. There are no obligatory vaccinations in Japan; instead, routine and voluntary vaccinations are available.

The following routine vaccinations for infants have been recommended since 2011.

  • BCG (Tubercolosis)
  • DPT (Diphtheria, Pertussis, Tetanus)
  • MR (Measles, Rubella)
  • Polio
  • Japanese Encephalitis

The government pays for part or the entire cost of the vaccinations, provided they are carried out at the scheduled time. The amount that is paid by government depends on the family's area of residence, and parents should contact their local town hall for more information. Parents of children following a vaccination schedule are informed by post when the next vaccination is due.

Voluntary vaccinations are administered according to a family's circumstances, and school and work requirements. The government does not make any contribution to the cost of these vaccinations. They include:

  • Mumps
  • Varicella (chicken pox)
  • Haemophilus Influenzae type b (Hib)
  • Paediatric Pneumococcal
  • Seasonal and Novel Influenza

Children's hospitals and emergencies

  • In the event of an emergency, Tel: 119

The majority of both public and private hospitals have paediatric units.

  • The US embassy has a list of hospitals with emergency facilities: Click here

The AMDA International Medical Information Center has staff who speak many languages and can explain how the medical system works. They can also help foreigners to find doctors who speak their language.