Psychiatry in Japan

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Macks Koontz
January 20, 2023

When bringing more than a 30-day supply of medicine into Japan, you need to apply for a Yunyu Kakunin-sho. The suggested plan for bringing my meds into Japan was to bring a supply that would last the entire stay while I was here, but since these were psych meds my provider would not give me that much of my medicine (understandably so). I was planning on bringing a 3-months supply, but I wasn’t able to get my Yunyu Kakunin-sho done in time, so I went into Japan with just a month's supply. I was really worried this wouldn’t be enough time to last me until the psychiatrist appointment that I was told could be set up once I’m in Japan. However, once I got there and registered for my classes, the program director (Satoshi Sensei) immediately set up an appointment for me.

I was nervous going into it because of my history with my mental health, and I was afraid that I might be judged. Especially with Satoshi Sensei being there because I know mental health can be stigmatized here and I didn’t want to be looked down upon in any way. However, it actually went very, very smoothly. First, I came in and filled out one sheet with basic medical history information. Afterwards, I got to see my psychiatrist. Before I came to Japan, I was told that I needed a letter for my psychiatrist so I could be accurately treated, so I made sure to get one before I left. When I went to the appointment, all he had to do was look at the letter given to him (it had my diagnoses and current medicine I am taking), ask a few brief questions and then I was prescribed my meds. I think the total appointment only took about 20 minutes, which I was pleasantly surprised by. Normally in the states an intake appointment takes like 4 hours, but this was very simple and straight to the point. The psychiatrist was fluent in English, but Satoshi Sensei was still there to translate when necessary. It was a bit awkward to have him there, but he is super sweet and didn’t seem to judge anything that I said.

After the appointment, we went down to the pharmacy by the office and was able to get my medicine right then and there. Because the paperwork needed to be filled out in Japanese, Satoshi Sensei asked me the questions and filled it out for me. All together, the appointment and the medicine was probably about $50, the appointment being $20 and then medicine being $30. Although my insurance covers these medications in the states completely, I am incredibly grateful that it wasn’t super expensive because without my insurance these medicines all together are about $400 or so in the states. Because they didn’t have all of the medicines in stock, they mailed some of them to my dorm, but it was only within a day or so and it wasn’t a hassle at all.

They provided me with quite a long supply, but I still have to go to another appointment (my last one) to be given the rest. They are also going to provide enough so that I will have some in the states when I get back which will be very helpful!

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Macks Koontz

Hello! My name is Macks and I'm a sophomore at the University of Tennessee majoring in Child and Family Studies with a minor in Japanese. I love learning, hiking, reading, and playing the guitar/ukulele. Studying abroad is super important to me and I am so very excited to be able to share my journey with other people :)

2023 Spring
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University of Tennessee - Knoxville
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