Ministry of Health, Labour, and Welfare
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. This 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.
The ministry is quite large, with a complex organization. It contains:
- 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)
Highway tour bus companies
After an 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.
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."
- 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
- Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare website Organization of the Ministry of Health, Labor, and Welfare Retrieved on November 23rd 2010
- The Japan Times Bus crash in Gunma leaves seven dead, 39 injured April 30 2012 Retrieved on July 27, 2012
- The Yomiuri Shimbun 80% of tour bus firms found to violate laws July 20 2012 Retrieved on July 27, 2012
- Otake, Tomoko, "Ministry insider speaks out", Japan Times, November 1, 2009, p. 10.