Mr Jeremy Hunt, Secretary of State for Health was in Japan from 27 February – 3 March to meet with political and industry experts and explore common healthcare issues facing both Japan and the UK today. Japan has the most rapidly aging population in the world: 23% are now over 65, rising to 40% by 2050. Within this context it must adapt its health systems and is at the forefront of related challenges such as dementia.
In March 2012, UK Prime Minister David Cameron announced measures aimed at making the UK also a world leader in dementia care and research as part of his ‘National Dementia Challenge’, focusing on three key areas of preparation, cure/treatment research and getting society engaged in the challenge. During his visit, Mr Hunt met with Japanese experts on dementia and visited a care home in central Tokyo for dementia patients.
Mr Hunt also met with Japanese Health Minister Tamura and later Japanese Prime Minister Abe, during which both parties stressed a desire for greater cooperation, particularly in fields such as dementia research.
As part of a ‘Life Sciences Week’, the visit coincided with a Drug Discovery & Development trade mission organised by UK Trade & Investment, attended by 27 British pharmaceutical companies seeking to learn and explore the Japanese market. This was supported locally by GlaxoSmithKline KK and AstraZeneca KK. 170 people took part in seminars held in Tokyo and Osaka, including Japanese pharmaceutical companies, academia and media, with a keynote speech made by AstraZeneca in Osaka.
The seminars were recorded and video content from the Life Sciences Week will be made available soon on our online channels.