how to become a medical doctor in japan

How to become a medical doctor in Japan(7 steps)

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In this article, we will be looking at how to become a medical doctor in Japan. We will also be looking at some basic requirements on how to become a medical doctor in Japan.

Sit tight as we take you through the steps of how to become a medical doctor in Japan. Before we dive into the topic let’s tell you a little about Japan.  

Japan is an East Asian island country located in the northwest Pacific Ocean. The Sea of Japan borders it on the west, and it stretches from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south- Wikipedia.

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How to become a medical doctor in Japan

Following are 7 steps on how to become a medical doctor in Japan. viz;

  • Japanese Language
  • Study in Japanese Medical Schools
  • Pass the Medical Exams
  • Residency
  • Getting Your Medical License
  • Work Visa
  • Get a job as a doctor

how to become a medical doctor in Japan

1. Japanese Language

Firstly we will be looking at the Japanese language which is a vital requirement on how to become a medical doctor in Japan.

For most people who are not from that region of the world, learning any East Asian language will be challenging. While not as difficult as Mandarin, Japanese is a difficult language to master and can take a long time to learn.
Sure, mastering simple things like ordering a cab or asking for directions isn’t difficult, but being good or fluent enough in the language to work as a medical doctor is a different story.

You’ll need a near-native grasp of the Japanese language to pass the medical examinations required for acquiring a medical license, which we’ll go through in more detail later, and even more than that because you’ll be asked to know several Japanese medical terms and words that most natives are unfamiliar with.

So, if you want to practice medicine in Japan, you should start studying the language as soon as possible so that you can get a grasp of the language. Check out more language requirements at Japanese language requirements for foreign students

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2. Study in Japanese Medical schools

Studying medicine in Japan is the most straightforward path on how to become a medical doctor in Japan, and it is strongly advised if you are serious about pursuing this career path. Medical school in Japan lasts a total of 6 years.

The first two years of study are devoted to general courses, followed by 2 years of applied medical sciences. Years 5 and 6 are set aside for a clinical clerkship at the university hospital where they are enrolled, where they will study a variety of topics pertaining to their area.

It is quite simple and straightforward to apply to medical schools in Japan, and the process is the same for both foreigners and Japanese citizens.
However, you must not only be proficient in the language but also highly familiar with medical and scientific terms in the Japanese language, which is nearly hard for someone who has not lived in the country for at least a few years before applying to university.
If that’s the case, you can get your undergraduate degree elsewhere and then pursue a postgraduate degree in Japan, where you can discover a great variety of options in English and other languages.

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3. Pass Japan Medical Examination

Next step on this list of how to become a medical doctor in Japan. Before you may take the final medical license exams, you must first apply for it, but only if you meet all the requirements. You can easily apply for the final licensing exam in Japan if you are a foreign medical graduate from a program similar to those available in Japan (6+ years) and you are also licensed in the nation where you graduated or studied.

However, whether you are accepted or not is the main issue, though it varies from case to case, with no apparent reason why some candidates are accepted while others are not. An assessment of your language skills is also required before you can take the exam. To qualify for the exams, you must have at least an N1 level.

You’ll need a lot more if you want to pass the exam, as N1 is considered barely competent enough to apply to medical school in Japan, let alone pass the final exam. Visit Japan medical board for more information concerning the exams.

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how to become a medical doctor in Japan

4. Residency

This is another very important point on the list of steps on how to become a medical doctor in Japan. Before beginning their clinic or finding a job in a hospital, all doctors must complete a two-year residency program before working as regular doctors in Japan.

The residency must be completed at either a university or a university-affiliated hospital. Candidates might choose a course from a broad area that interests them before applying for residency.

Please bear in mind that residency is extremely difficult to get for graduates of medical schools outside of Japan, as it often involves links with Japanese colleges as well as reputable letters of recommendation.


5. Getting your medical license 

The National Medical Practitioners Examination is the final exam you must pass to obtain a medical license in Japan. Getting a medical license is not just one among the list on how to become a medical doctor in Japan, it is a must-have.

Passing this exam is not simple, especially for foreigners, but it is not tougher than any other final medical exam you can find anywhere in the world, if you have the appropriate language skills and technical knowledge.

If you pass the exam, you will become a certified medical doctor in the country right away, but you will need to complete two years of residency before you can work.


6. Work Visa

Getting a work visa is another vital step on this list of how to become a medical doctor in Japan. Medical practitioners are usually covered by Japan’s regular Working Visa. The visa application procedure is usually easy and straightforward.

At your local Japanese consulate or embassy, you must complete a Japanese visa application form. Your passport, a recent photograph, a written letter from your company detailing your position and expected income, and a Certificate of Eligibility are also required (COE).


7. Get a Job as a medical doctor

This is the last step we will discuss on the list of how to become a medical doctor in Japan. After obtaining your license, the next question on your mind will be getting a Job.

After receiving a medical license, you are free to open your own practice or seek to work in a Japanese hospital, but only after completing the two-year required residency requirement.

Private practitioners, particularly in the field of psychiatry, are scarce in the country. If you want to work in a hospital, you can use any popular job-search platform on the internet.

But keep in mind that applying online with little to no experience in the medical field in Japan means you’ll have very little chance of getting the job compared to other native and possibly more well-connected candidates. However, there is a minor demand for English specialization.

These are the 7 major steps on how to become a medical doctor in Japan. Follow our website for more interesting articles.