【Aging, safety net and fiscal crisis in Japan】No.131: The Measles Epidemic Brought on by Foreign Tourists

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.

From 2006 to 2008, Japan experienced a measles pandemic, and most of these measles patients were teenagers. When the number of measles patients reached 11,013 in 2008 (Figure 1), Japan was stigmatized as an "Exporting Country of Measles." As a result of the government taking measures, such as promoting the second vaccination of teenagers, the pandemic calmed down, and in 2015, Japan was recognized as an "Exclusionary State of Measles" by the WHO.

However, once again, the measles epidemic has been spreading nationally (Figure 2). This began after a foreign tourist in Okinawa Prefecture was diagnosed with measles on March 20, 2018. As the number of foreign tourists increases rapidly, the importance of countermeasures against infectious diseases is once again being recognized.

Figure 1: Number of patients with measles

Source: National Institute of Infectious Diseases

Figure 2: Cumulative number of weekly measles patients

Source: National Institute of Infectious Diseases

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