October 2020

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Kenko Shindan (Health Checkup)

A health checkup is a physical examination to determine whether your body is healthy. To ensure you maintain good health day to day, you should get a health checkup once per year.

What is a health checkup?

Health checkup in Japan

In Japan, most people get a health checkup once a year.
The purpose of these health checkups is the prevention and early detection of illnesses.
A kenko shindan (health checkup) is also sometimes called kenshin or kenko shinsa.

Preparations for heavy rains

Examinations in a health checkup

A health checkup generally consists of the following tests.

  • Body measurements: Measures your height and body weight.
  • Vision test: Tests how well your eyes can see.
  • Hearing test: Tests how well your ears can hear.
  • Urine test: Investigates the content of your urine.
  • Blood test: Investigates the content of your blood.
  • Blood pressure test: Tests the force with which blood presses against the walls of your blood vessels after being pumped out from the heart.
  • Electrocardiogram (ECG) test: Investigates the movements of your heart.
  • Chest X-ray test: Investigates the condition of your heart and lungs by taking an image of the inside of your chest.
Preparations for heavy rains

In addition, health checkups also include a consultation with a doctor.
Generally, the total time required is one to two hours.

Receiving a health checkup

How to get a health checkup

If you work for a company, you can get a health checkup once a year. There is no cost. The place where you receive your health checkup will be either “the company,” “a clinic specified by the company,” or “the clinic of your choice.” Please ask your company for the details.

If you are currently attending school, you can get a health checkup once a year. There is no cost. Health checkups are performed on a specified day at the school. Please ask your school for the details.

If you are running your own business, working as a freelancer, or not working, you can make your own arrangements to get a health checkup. If you are enrolled in national health insurance, you may be able to get one free of charge in some cases. This varies depending on your age and the area where you live, so please ask for details at your local ward office or municipal office.

Things to be aware of when getting a health checkup

Before starting your health checkup, you need to fill out a questionnaire called a monshinhyo (interview sheet). This form contains questions such as the following.

  • Have you ever had a serious illness?
  • Are there any medications you are currently taking?
  • Do you have any family members who have or had serious illnesses?
  • Is there any part of your body currently bothering you?
Preparations for heavy rains

If you cannot read and write Japanese well, you should have someone who can help you.

Also, you may be given instructions like this: “Don’t eat anything for ____ hours before your health checkup.” This varies depending on the specific tests you’ll be taking, so make sure to check the written instructions you receive carefully.

If you would like a more in-depth examination

Ningen dokku (comprehensive checkup)

If you want a more in-depth examination of whether your body is healthy, you can get a comprehensive checkup. This is an examination of your whole body. Since there are a large number of tests to determine whether specific parts of your body are healthy, this type of checkup can be expensive, and it also takes a lot of time. To get a comprehensive checkup, you need to find a hospital on your own.

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