Nikkei: Japan’s non-profit healthcare system non-negotiable at Asia-Pacific TPP free-trade talks

TOKYO (TR) – Japan’s universal health insurance system will be excluded from the negotiations at the Trans-Pacific Partnership free-trade talks, the Nikkei newspaper said, citing a Foreign Ministry report.

Opposition has grown against the nation’s entry into the agreement over concern joining the TPP could lead to the United States demanding Japan allow for privately held for–profit hospitals, the Nikkei said. Japan’s Medical Association expressed concern over its potential impact on the nation’s nonprofit system and the quality of care it provides, according to the news service.

The TPP free-trade talks, aimed at dismantling trade barriers, are currently under negotiation by eight Asia-Pacific countries and the United States. Original members New Zealand, Singapore, Chile and Brunei first entered the agreement in 2006.

The Kyodo wire service, citing unnamed sources, said on October 30, Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda plans to announce Tokyo will join the talks during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit scheduled to begin Nov. 12 in Hawaii.

Source: Nikkei and Kyodo

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