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Number of medical graduates in Japan lowest among OECD countries

TOKYO (Kyodo) -- Japan has the least number of people who have graduated from medical schools per 100,000 population among 35 comparable member countries of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, OECD data showed Thursday.

    The number of new medical graduates in Japan was 6.8 per 100,000 population in 2017, while the average across OECD countries was 13.1, it said.

    The figure was the highest in Ireland at 24.9, followed by Denmark at 21.5.

    "Japan recently took action to increase the number of students admitted to medical schools, but this is not yet reflected in the number of new medical graduates due to lags," OECD said in its report Health at a Glance 2019.

    The report said that the ratio of medical doctors who were over age 55 was 37 percent in Japan in 2017, higher than the OECD average of 34 percent.

    "Ageing of the medical workforce is a concern, as doctors aged 55 and over are generally expected to retire in the following decade and need to be replaced in order to prevent a decline in overall physician numbers," OECD said.

    Japan also had the lowest percentage of female doctors among the 36 countries at 21 percent against the OECD average of 48 percent, followed by South Korea at 23 percent and Luxembourg and the United States at 36 percent. Latvia and Estonia had the highest percentage of female doctors at 74 percent.

    The latest survey covered 44 countries including nonmember countries such as China and Russia.

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