【Aging, safety net and fiscal crisis in Japan】No.61: Average Length of Stay in Psychiatric Bed is Too Long

In this column series, Yukihiro Matsuyama, Research Director at CIGS introduces the latest information about aging, safety net and fiscal crisis in Japan with data of international comparison.

Of the 42,364 billion yen spent in medical expenses in 2015 in Japan, only 1,924 billion yen was spent on psychiatric medicine, accounting for 4.5% of total expenditure. However, as shown in Table 1, the share of the number of hospitals and beds was 12.6% and 21.3% respectively.

A major problem of psychiatric medicine in Japan is that the average length of stay was as long as 270 days as of 2016 (Figure 1). According to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) data, this duration was less than 50 days for those in other developed countries. Therefore, the Japanese government is working to create a system that allows psychiatric patients to be independent in the community in order to prevent long-term hospitalization, but there are many problems to be solved.

Table 1 Number of hospitals and beds in psychiatric medicine


(Source)Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare

Figure 1 Average Length of Stay in Psychiatric Bed


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