Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare (Japan) | Wikipedia audio article

The Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare
(厚生労働省, Kōsei-rōdō-shō) is a cabinet level ministry of the Japanese government. It is commonly known as Kōrō-shō (厚労省)
in Japan. The ministry provides regulations on maximum
residue limits for agricultural chemicals in foods, basic food and drug regulations,
standards for foods, food additives, etc. It was formed with the merger of the former
Ministry of Health and Welfare or Kōsei-shō (厚生省) and the Ministry of Labour or
Rōdō-shō (労働省). The Minister of Health, Labour and Welfare
is a member of the Cabinet and is chosen by the Prime Minister, typically from among members
of the Diet.==Organization==
The ministry contains the following sections: The Minister’s Secretariat (including the
Statistics and Information Department) The Health Policy Bureau
The Health Service Bureau Pharmaceutical and Food Safety Bureau (including
the Food Safety Department) The Labor Standards Bureau (including the
Industrial Safety and Health Department, Workers Compensation Department, and Workers’ Life
Department) The Employment Security Bureau (including
the Employment Measures for the Elderly and Persons with Disabilities Department)
The Human Resources Development Bureau The Equal Employment, Children and Families
Bureau The Social Welfare and War Victims’ Relief
Bureau (including the Department of Health and Welfare for People with Disabilities)
The Health and Welfare Bureau for the Elderly The Health Insurance Bureau
The Pension Bureau The Director-General for Policy Planning and
Evaluation Affiliated research institutions (6 research
institutes, 218 national hospitals, 13 quarantine stations, and 3 Social Welfare Facilities)
Councils (Social Security Council, Health Sciences Council, Labour Policy Council, Medical
Ethics Council, Pharmaceutical Affairs and Food Sanitation Council, Evaluation Committee
for Independent Administrative institutions, Central Minimum Wages Council, Labour Insurance
Appeal Committee, Central Social Insurance Medical Council, Examination Committee of
Social Insurance, Examination Committee for Certification of Sickness and Disability,
Examination Committee for Relief Assistances) Regional Bureaus (8 Regional Bureaus of Health
and Welfare and 47 Prefectural Labour Bureaus) External Bureaus (Japan Pension Service, Central
Labor Relations Commission)==Investigations=====Highway tour bus companies===
After a fatal bus accident on April 29, 2012, where a bus bound for Tokyo Disneyland crashed
in Gunma Prefecture killing seven and injuring 39 others, the ministry launched an investigation
into highway bus companies. Investigations were carried out at a total
of 339 businesses. It was discovered that 95.6% (324 firms) were
violating the Labor Standards Law and the Industrial Safety and Health Law. 219 businesses (64.6%) broke the law by having
their drivers work behind the wheel more than the legal maximum of eight hours a day and
40 hours a week, or longer than what was agreed upon with their labor union. It also found 37 businesses, (10.9%), did
not provide “at least one day off a week,” which the law obliges employers to give their
drivers. Also, it found that 260 (76.6%) did not observe
standards involving bus driver working hours, which prohibit them from working more than
16 hours a day in combined driving and office time. The ministry said it took “corrective measures”
with those who violated the laws.==Criticism==
Published ministry employee and outspoken critic Moriyo Kimura states that the ministry’s
medical officers (ikei gikan) are “corrupt and self-serving.” Kimura states that the officers, who number
250, have little experience and see no patients nor practice medicine after being hired by
the ministry. Thus, says Kimura, Japan’s public health policies
lag behind other developed countries, by “decades”.==See also==
European Medicines Agency International Conference on Harmonisation
of Technical Requirements for Registration of Pharmaceuticals for Human Use
Drug development Clinical trial
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Daniel Yohans

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