APDA The Asian Population and Development AssociationAPDA The Asian Population and Development Association

INTERVIEW

Amid low fertility and population ageing, I have been pouring my energy into health care and long-term nursing care policies.

Member of the House of Councillors Hon. Satoshi Oie https://oie-satoshi.com/

Amid low fertility and population ageing, I have been pouring my energy into health care and long-term nursing care policies ever since I was elected in 2010.

As for long-term nursing care, I serve as an executive member in three parliamentary caucuses. In particular, the Caucus on Regional Long-Term Nursing Care and Welfare in the House of Councillors was established in 2013, under the leadership of Hon. Hiromi Yoshida, the then Secretary-General for the LDP in the House of Councillors, who passed away in 2019.

We work as a team to carefully addresses the issue of regional long-term nursing care, leveraging the advantages we have as members of the House of Councillors who are elected from each prefecture and have six-year terms. We listen to the views of people actually providing nursing care in the field and identify issues. We have had vociferous discussions with the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare and other ministries and agencies to arrive at solutions.

As for the revision of nursing service fees for fiscal year 2021, we worked under Hon. Shinsuke Suematsu, the Caucus Chair, to make repeated requests to Prime Minister Suga and Finance Minister Aso, in consideration of difficulties the service providers were having in terms of their operations under the COVID-19 pandemic and in securing human resources. As a result, we were able to win an overall increase in fees of 0.70%, which was substantially higher than the increase of 0.54% from the revision three years ago.

Long-term nursing care is essential services that allow users and their families to continue their lives, and even in times of infections or disasters, necessary services must be provided stably and continuously. We arrived at this awareness particularly during this pandemic.

Even though older people have higher risks of developing a severe disease, the number of deaths from COVID-19 in nursing homes in Japan has been much smaller compared with other countries. This is due to the efforts made by service providers, and I am grateful to them.

With the increase in service fees from the last revision, I believe that steps will be taken to cover additional expenses incurred during the daily provision of services for infection control as well as to improve the working conditions of nursing care staff who are dedicating themselves in nursing homes.

The fight against COVID-19 will be for the long term, and even now, it has had an impact on business operations, nursing care staff, and users and their families. The Caucus on Regional Long-Term Nursing Care and Welfare in the House of Councillors is conducting questionnaire surveys on various types of services in an effort to understand the current state of affairs. We will make further efforts this year so that your views can be included.

Interviewed in January 2021

※The titles shown are those held at the time of interview.

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