More Dentists Than Convenience Stores in Japan
If you’ve ever been to Japan, you know that there are a lot of convenience stores in the country. In places like Shinjuku and Shibuya, where many people gather, it is common to find a convenience store every five minutes. But is it true that there are more dentists than convenience stores in Japan?
About 13,000 more dentists than convenience stores
Research shows that as of May 2018, there are 68,791 dentists compared to 55,463 convenience stores. Not only that, there are a surprising 100,000 dentists in Japan. Since the total number of doctors in Japan is about 300,000, this means that dentists alone account for 1/3 of the total number of doctors in Japan. Not only that, but there are 30 dental colleges in Japan, despite the small size of the country.
Why are there so many dentists in Japan?
In fact, there used to be very few dentists in Japan. That changed dramatically in 1965. At that time, the world was experiencing a baby boom after World War II, and Japan’s population was increasing. In addition to this, Japan’s rapid economic growth was changing the way people ate and lived. This led to a sharp increase in the number of Japanese people with tooth decay. This led to an overwhelming shortage of dentists in Japan.
In response, the Japanese government launched a policy to increase the number of dentists. In the end, the number of dental schools increased from 7 in 1960 to 30 in 1980. When the Japanese government realized that it had an excess of dentists, it suddenly changed its policy to reduce the number of dentists, but no effective solution has been found to date.
A tough situation for dentists
In the past, you had to wait in line to get in, but now you can make an appointment anytime, anywhere.
90% of dentists have a parent who is a dentist. In order to take over their parent’s dental clinic, they go to dental school and become a dentist. However, while the number of dentists is increasing, the number of patients in Japan is decreasing due to the declining birthrate.Since it is difficult to see a good future for a dentist, even if the parents are dentists, their children are starting to have different careers.
In fact, until 2007, the number of dentists who opened dentists’ offices exceeded the number who closed them, but since 2008, the number of dentists who closed dentists’ offices has been higher than the number who opened them due to lack of customers. It can be said that what dentists in Japan need in the future is not techniques but management skills.