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Challenging Inequities in HealthFrom Ethics to Action$
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Timothy Evans, Margaret Whitehead, Finn Diderichsen, Abbas Bhuiya, and Meg Wirth

Print publication date: 2001

Print ISBN-13: 9780195137408

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195137408.001.0001

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Japan: Historical and Current Dimensions of Health and Health Equity

Japan: Historical and Current Dimensions of Health and Health Equity

(p.90) Chapter 8 Japan: Historical and Current Dimensions of Health and Health Equity
Challenging Inequities in Health


Oxford University Press

Japan has attracted considerable attention as a country with one of the highest life expectancies and lowest infant mortality rates in the world. The focus on impressive gains in average health indicators may have obscured the issue of inequalities in health within Japan. This chapter starts by examining the long-term historical antecedents of the unparalleled improvements in the population's health as a whole. It then analyzes patterns of past, current, and future health inequalities in Japanese society. The analysis reveals significant inequalities in health according to average wealth, income distribution, education levels, television ownership (a indirect marker of income), and occupational grouping. This and other research over recent years calls into question the “classlessness” of Japanese society and the need to remain vigilant to the ways that social or health systems may still generate inequities.

Keywords:   Japan, historical, current, health equity, inequalities

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