Aug 30, 2012

The Medical Act of Japan

Portion of the Medical Act of Japan that pertains to “duty to provide medical care” was excerpted and translated into English. (The entire Medical Act in Japanese)
Originally enacted on July 30, 1948, and most recently revised on June 27, 2007.

Article 19 
Section 1.  Practicing physicians may not refuse a request for medical examination or treatment, unless there is a just cause.
Section 2. Physicians who performed examination, autopsy or delivery may not refuse a request for an issuance of a medical, autopsy, birth, or stillbirth certificate, unless there is just cause.


Duty to provide medical care

“A duty to provide medical care” is a duty imposed upon physicians and medical care facilities to provide medical care to patients under Article 19 of the Medical Act.  There are no penalty provisions established.

However, Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare states the following:

1. “Just cause” as described in the Medical Act Article 19 is limited to situations where medical care by a physician is practically impossible due to the absence or illnesses of the physician.  Refusal of repeated requests by the patient due to a mild case of fatigue will constitute violation of Article 19.

2. No penalty provisions are set for physicians who violate Article 19, but such conduct qualifies as “disgracing conduct as a physician” stated in the Medical Act Article 7.  In cases of repeated violations, revocation or suspension of medical license might be ordered under Article 7.


Article 7
Section 2.  When a physician falls under any of Article 4 Sections, or when exhibiting a disgracing conduct as a physician, the Minister of Health, Labour and Welfare may apply one of the following punishments.
  1. Warning
  2. Suspension of medical license for less than three years
  3. Revocation of medical license


Article 4  A person who falls under one of the following Sections may not be given a medical license.
  1. Those who are defined by the regulation of the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare to be incapable of performing proper work as a physician due to mental or physical disorders.
  2. Those addicted to narcotics, marijuana or opium.
  3. Those who have received a punishment of more than a fine.
  4. Those who committed a crime or dishonesty in medical practice.


第19条 診療に従事する医師は、診察治療の求があつた場合には、正当な事由がなければ、これを拒んではならない。



1. 医師法第十九条にいう「正当な事由」のある場合とは、医師の不在又は病気等により事実上診療が不可能な場合に限られるのであって、患者の再三の求めにもかかわらず、単に軽度の疲労の程度をもってこれを拒絶することは、第十九条の義務違反を構成する。

2. 医師が第十九条の義務違反を行った場合には罰則の適用はないが、医師法第七条にいう「医師としての品位を損するような行為のあったとき」にあたるから、義務違反を反覆するが如き場合において同条の規定により医師免許の取消又は停止を命ずる場合もありうる[1]

第7条 医師が、第3条に該当するときは、厚生労働大臣は、その免許を取り消す。

第4条 次の各号のいずれかに該当する者には、免許を与えないことがある。
1.心身の障害により医師の業務を適正に行うことができない者として厚生労働省令で定めるもの 2.麻薬、大麻又はあへんの中毒者 


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