There were close to 8,500 hospitals in Japan in May 2012. One of the definitions of a hospital in Japan is the number of beds for in-hospitalized patients. The Japanese hospitals need to have at least 20 beds to be defined as a hospital. If the number is less than 20, it is a clinic (practice, doctor’s office) not a hospital. The newest statistics tells that the number of clinics is over 100,000 in Japan. Majority of the clinics operate without in-hospitalization functions, only about 10 % of the clinics have beds for in-hospitalized patients. In addition, there are also close to 70,000 dental clinics in Japan.
The total number of beds in hospitals is 1.5 million, including more than 300,000 beds at long-term care wards and nearly 900,000 beds for general patients. The average hospitalization period is 31.8 days and the daily average of the in-hospitalized patients is 1.3 million. There are also in average of 1.3 million patients in hospitals (not including patients in clinics) who are not staying overnight. That makes a total of 2.6 million people getting care in hospitals daily.
The population of Tokyo prefecture is 13.2 million and the number of Tokyo-based hospitals and clinics are approximately 600 and 12,600, respectively. The number of Tokyo-based dentist’s office is 12,600 and this large number is causing hard competition to get enough patients and run healthy business. As comparison, the north prefecture Hokkaido (a large island in the north of Japan) has 5.5 million population and the number of hospitals is close to 600, clinics more than 3,000 and dentists’ offices just over 3,000.
As the number of the medical facilities is very large and many types of operators are managing these hospitals and clinics, well-covered and networked sales operations are recommended to ensure fruitful business results in Japan. The pharmaceutical and hospital product companies organize their distribution channels in multi-layered and diversified way to ensure sufficient coverage in both hospitals and clinics of different sizes and in different islands all over of Japan. Therefore it is very important to check the sales coverage of the preferred distributor candidates including the sub-distributors and distribution partners.
Sources: Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare Japan