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  • April 2015
  • Clarification of Relationship between Telephone Interpretation Services for Foreign Patients at Medical Institutions and the Medical Practitioners’ Act and the Medical Care Act

Clarification of Relationship between Telephone Interpretation Services for Foreign Patients at Medical Institutions and the Medical Practitioners’ Act and the Medical Care Act-Utilizing the System to Remove Gray Zone Areas based on the Industrial Competitiveness Enhancement Act-

Regarding the System to Remove Gray Zone Areas based on the Industrial Competitiveness Enhancement Act, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) replied to the inquiry of a business entity within the jurisdiction of METI.

1. Results of Utilizing the System to Remove Gray Zone Areas

A business operator inquired whether or not telephone interpretation services at call centers for foreign patients who visit medical institutions fall under the “medical practice” category stipulated under the Medical Practitioners’ Act and whether or not the conclusion of outsourcing agreements for said services between medical institutions and business operators conflicts with the Medical Care Act.

As a result of consideration by the relevant ministries and agencies, it was confirmed that said services do not fall under the medical practice category under Article 17 of the Medical Practitioners’ Act or under the operations specified in Article 15(2) of the Medical Care Act and that, furthermore, the conclusion of outsourcing agreements between medical institutions and business operators is possible.

This clarification is expected to lead to the creation of new services that improve convenience for foreign patients who visit medical institutions.

2. Summary of the System to Remove Gray Zone Areas

The System to Remove Gray Zone Areas based on the Industrial Competitiveness Enhancement Act enables business operators to inquire whether or not certain regulations apply to their business.

In this system, business operators can inquire whether or not certain regulations apply to their business in advance, prior to launching new business activities. The applicability of those regulations to their business is confirmed by the competent minister for business and the competent minister for regulations. Regarding this inquiry, the competent minister for business is the Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry, and the competent minister for regulations is the Minister of Health, Labour and Welfare.

Release date

April 20, 2015

Division in Charge

Healthcare Industries Division, Commerce and Information Policy Bureau

Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry
1-3-1 Kasumigaseki, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100-8901, Japan Tel: +81-(0)3-3501-1511
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