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Being a foreign Doctor in Japan

1jsd

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So, I've always thought about living in Japan. These questions are theoretical, I'm just a highschool student that wants to be in the medical field and is about to go into college.

So let's say that I want to live in Japan after I get my degree in Neurology and get a few years worth of experience at home in the US (not sure how much is best specifically) and that I've spent enough time to become fluent enough to speak, read, and understand Japanese. What would I need to do in order to find a job like that in Japan? I heard that you could take a medical exam to get licensed in Japan to be a doctor. I'm sure if that is the same for a Physician.

This is just theoretical, it's going to be a while and I'm just wondering for now.
 

Mike Cash

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Sorry if I didn't clarify. Basically I mean as someone making diagnostics and prescribing medication, a physician.

Thank you. How do you define "doctor", then?

Have you started learning Japanese yet?
 

1jsd

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Thank you. How do you define "doctor", then?

Have you started learning Japanese yet?
I'd define it as someone who cures illnesses through performing surgeries and medical procedures.

As for learning Japanese, have not start yet. I'm going start as soon as possible, not so sure where to begin though.
 

mdchachi

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It's hard to imagine a scenario where you would become fluent enough to work as a doctor/physician in Japan without going through their educational system to some extent. Perhaps there are ways to be a visiting professional.
 

Mike Cash

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At least as far as the practicalities of licensing goes, I think the distinction you make between doctors and physicians is moot.

If you attend medical school outside Japan and hope to practice in Japan then you need to make double damned sure that the school satisfies the conditions set forth by Japan's MHLW or you won't even be allowed to take the exam to begin with. See the thread I linked above to find a link to the relevant information.

Have you been accepted into a pre-med program?

You can try to find classes in your area. You can take classes at university if they are available. Or you can study on your own as many people do.

Why Japan?
 

1jsd

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At least as far as the practicalities of licensing goes, I think the distinction you make between doctors and physicians is moot.

If you attend medical school outside Japan and hope to practice in Japan then you need to make double damned sure that the school satisfies the conditions set forth by Japan's MHLW or you won't even be allowed to take the exam to begin with. See the thread I linked above to find a link to the relevant information.

Have you been accepted into a pre-med program?

You can try to find classes in your area. You can take classes at university if they are available. Or you can study on your own as many people do.

Why Japan?
Ok, understandable.

Have not been accepted into any pre-med program, I've not looked for one yet but I might just end up studying on my own till then.
 
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Considering the large drop in income you'd receive in Japan as opposed to in the US, why would you ever want to go practice medicine there?

Another way to look at it: how fast do you want to be able to pay off your massive student loans for undergraduate and medical school (assuming your parents aren't rich)?
 

1jsd

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Considering the large drop in income you'd receive in Japan as opposed to in the US, why would you ever want to go practice medicine there?

Another way to look at it: how fast do you want to be able to pay off your massive student loans for undergraduate and medical school (assuming your parents aren't rich)?
Well, I'm just wondering. Well there are jobs I'm considering. I'm not really 100% on the medical field so there's not too much for me to say what I'd do. Drop in income? Do most jobs pay less than what it would in the US or is it just medicine?

Paying off student debts... well if I do just go to a college in the US, than I'll stay there and budget until debts are wiped out. But if I do go and get my medical education in Japan, well I'm not so sure.
 
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Drop in income? Do most jobs pay less than what it would in the US or is it just medicine?

My impression is that yes, most jobs in Japan pay less than their equivalent in the US. There are undoubtedly exceptions. The medical field is not one of those. Many specialist doctors where I live bring home a million or more dollars per year, especially if they avoid Medicare patients (as many do). Long hours, especially during internship, are the trade-off.
 

1jsd

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My impression is that yes, most jobs in Japan pay less than their equivalent in the US. There are undoubtedly exceptions. The medical field is not one of those. Many specialist doctors where I live bring home a million or more dollars per year, especially if they avoid Medicare patients (as many do). Long hours, especially during internship, are the trade-off.
Ah, I see... I though long hours were just something all doctors have to deal with. Is it just much more over there?

On a side note, I've heard something in the computer science field is a really good option to work in at Japan. Is this true?
 

Mike Cash

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What grade are you in? Have you ever discussed your future educational and career goals with your guidance counsellor?

Why Japan?
 

1jsd

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What grade are you in? Have you ever discussed your future educational and career goals with your guidance counsellor?

Why Japan?
12th grade. Have not discussed about future education yet. I'm going to ask for guidance as soon as possible, but I'm not sure on exactly what to ask about. Actually, tomorrow seems like a convenient time to go and ask....

As for why Japan, well this is still just a theoretical thought on this but... See, my cousin has plans to move to Japan and wanted me to come with her. We've been both interested on the culture and language there. I mean there are other places I have also considered moving to like Canada or maybe returning to Vietnam, but Japan came to mind first.
 

Shutainzu

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I know someone who tried to get into the medical profession in Japan, he was able to do the foreign internships whilst in university here in the UK during the summer months but after that he wasn't able to get a job because his Japanese wasn't fluent enough, the level they wanted was extremely higher than that of any other job requirement for foreign workers, is what he said atleast.
 

Mike Cash

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I know someone who tried to get into the medical profession in Japan, he was able to do the foreign internships whilst in university here in the UK during the summer months but after that he wasn't able to get a job because his Japanese wasn't fluent enough, the level they wanted was extremely higher than that of any other job requirement for foreign workers, is what he said atleast.

Did your friend say he took the licensing exam for the field he wanted to enter, passed it, was fully licensed, and unable to find a job?
 

Shutainzu

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Did your friend say he took the licensing exam for the field he wanted to enter, passed it, was fully licensed, and unable to find a job?

I'll have to ask him for more details, but all he said to me was that he tried to apply for the job at multiple hospitals and they came back saying he's language skill wasn't proficient enough, baring in mind he'd also studied Japanese and was at a decent N1 level.
 

Mike Cash

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I'll have to ask him for more details, but all he said to me was that he tried to apply for the job at multiple hospitals and they came back saying he's language skill wasn't proficient enough, baring in mind he'd also studied Japanese and was at a decent N1 level.

Please ask him the specific job title (in Japanese) he was applying for, whether he had taken and passed the necessary Japanese licensing exams, and if he had actually taken and passed N1 or if he self-assessed at N1.

On the last point, it should be noted that having passed the N1 is not a reliable indicator of a person's actual ability to function in Japanese in real-life situations. Further, any Japanese person meeting a foreign speaker of Japanese in any situation whatsoever will form their judgment of the person's abilities based on their own personal observations and standards and won't care in the least what a piece of paper from JLPT may say. (I've always put my JLPT on job applications, but I have yet to encounter a single employer who had ever heard of JLPT or who was the least bit interested in it or impressed by it).
 

Shutainzu

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Please ask him the specific job title (in Japanese) he was applying for, whether he had taken and passed the necessary Japanese licensing exams, and if he had actually taken and passed N1 or if he self-assessed at N1.

On the last point, it should be noted that having passed the N1 is not a reliable indicator of a person's actual ability to function in Japanese in real-life situations. Further, any Japanese person meeting a foreign speaker of Japanese in any situation whatsoever will form their judgment of the person's abilities based on their own personal observations and standards and won't care in the least what a piece of paper from JLPT may say. (I've always put my JLPT on job applications, but I have yet to encounter a single employer who had ever heard of JLPT or who was the least bit interested in it or impressed by it).
Should be able to ask him tomorrow for more details. Though I can answer one thing right now was that he went and done the proper JLPT test in Edinburgh so it's not self accessed.

I didn't realise that JLPT test wasn't really recognised in Japan. Our university lectures always advised us to get it along with our Japanese degree.
 

Mike Cash

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I didn't realise that JLPT test wasn't really recognised in Japan.

It is recognized by places that require it for things like hiring foreign employees. Most of the general public has never heard of it. You can say "It's like the Eiken" and people will have some idea what you're taking about.

STEP Eiken - Wikipedia
 

Mike Cash

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Should be able to ask him tomorrow for more details. Though I can answer one thing right now was that he went and done the proper JLPT test in Edinburgh so it's not self accessed.

I didn't realise that JLPT test wasn't really recognised in Japan. Our university lectures always advised us to get it along with our Japanese degree.

Bump since you've returned to the forum and you left this bit of unfinished business dangling. May we have some clarification, please?
 

Shutainzu

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Bump since you've returned to the forum and you left this bit of unfinished business dangling. May we have some clarification, please?

Yeah sorry about that. he said he had a N1 qualification at 134 out of 180? So a good pass I think? Never taken a JLPT yet so not sure. He was trying to be a trainee surgeon, but I know he was now able to get one through doing a internship elective in Japan for two months which lead to them actually taking him on as a trainee.
 

Mike Cash

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Yeah sorry about that. he said he had a N1 qualification at 134 out of 180? So a good pass I think? Never taken a JLPT yet so not sure. He was trying to be a trainee surgeon, but I know he was now able to get one through doing a internship elective in Japan for two months which lead to them actually taking him on as a trainee.

And did he pass the national licensing exam for physicians in Japan?
 
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