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I am a resident but not a national of Japan. As I am employed as a researcher by a university, I enjoy the benefits of compulsory health insurance.

I intend to travel out of Japan at least twice this year. In case I fall ill or get into an accident abroad, will my Japanese health insurance provide coverage equivalent to that I would receive if I were to stay in Japan or should I buy health/travel insurance just in case?

I am not interested in most of the other benefits of travel insurances, only in mitigating possible health-related expenses.

Unfortunately, I have gotten conflicting answers on the internet with some sources saying I will be covered and others saying I won’t — both to the best of my understanding.

  • Ask them. In the EC you have to have an extra blue card for being able to go to hospitals in another EC countries – Rui F Ribeiro Feb 7 '18 at 8:02
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    @RuiFRibeiro (I’m familiar with the EU rules as that is my nationality.) However, asking in Japan would require the person I’m asking to speak a certain level of English and have a certain expertise on the subject. Regardless of what the subject is, these two features typically are not present in the same person. – Jan Feb 7 '18 at 8:29
  • @Jan Your employer should satisfy both requirements, since they are employing you and providing your insurance. -1 – fkraiem Feb 7 '18 at 11:25
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    @fkraiem My employer is a professor. There are other scientific employees (assistant professors, associate professor, students) with varying levels of English and a secretary with whom communication is difficult. I am not sure that any of these have the expertise of the subject that I would want. – Jan Feb 7 '18 at 12:38
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It seems (based on the sources below) that Japanese health insurers will reimburse you for up to 70% of the cost of equivalent treatment in Japan. Given that medical treatment in Japan is relatively inexpensive compared to some countries, this may end up being but a small fraction of what came out of your pocket to receive the treatment overseas. (And if the overseas treatment is cheaper, it will be that cost, not the equivalent Japanese cost, that will be partially reimbursed.)

I assume this rule applies to anyone under a Japanese health insurance policy, whether Japanese national or foreign.

The Narita airport departure terminal is full of company booths and automated kiosks selling overseas insurance; this should tell you something.

https://tabihack.jp/kokumin-hoken/

https://oshiete.goo.ne.jp/qa/1853197.html

http://hoken-kyokasho.com/kaigai-hoken

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