Ministry of Health, Labour, and Welfare

Ministry of Health, Labour, and Welfare
Agency overview
Formed 2001 (2001)
Preceding agencies
  • Ministry of Health and Welfare (厚生省 Kōsei-shō)
  • Ministry of Labour (労働省 Rōdō-shō)
Jurisdiction  Japan
Headquarters 1-2-2 Kasumigaseki, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo, 100-8916 Japan
Ministers responsible

The Ministry of Health, Labour, and Welfare (厚生労働省 Kōsei-rōdō-shō) is a cabinet level ministry of the Japanese government. It is commonly known as Kōrō-shō (厚労省) in Japan. This ministry provides regulations on maximum residue limits for agricultural chemicals in foods, basic food and drug regulations, standards for foods, food additives, etc.

It was formed with the merger of the former Ministry of Health and Welfare or Kōsei-shō (厚生省) and the Ministry of Labour or Rōdō-shō (労働省).

The Minister of Health, Labour, and Welfare is a member of the Cabinet.


The ministry is quite large, with a complex organization. It contains:


Highway tour bus companies

After an fatal bus accident on April 29, 2012, where a bus bound for Tokyo Disneyland crashed in Gunma Prefecture killing seven and injuring 39 others,[2] the ministry launched an investigation into highway bus companies. Investigations were carried out at a total of 339 businesses. It was discovered that 95.6% (324 firms) were violating the Labor Standards Law and the Industrial Safety and Health Law. 219 businesses (64.6%) broke the law by having their drivers work behind the wheel more than the legal maximum of eight hours a day and 40 hours a week, or longer than what was agreed upon with their labor union. It also found 37 businesses, (10.9%), did not provide "at least one day off a week," which the law obliges employers to give their drivers. Also, it found that 260 (76.6%) did not observe standards involving bus driver working hours, which prohibit them from working more than 16 hours a day in combined driving and office time. The ministry said it took "corrective measures" with those who violated the laws.[3]


Published ministry employee and outspoken critic Moriyo Kimura states that the ministry's medical officers (ikei gikan) are "corrupt and self-serving." Kimura states that the officers, who number 250, have little experience and see no patients nor practice medicine after being hired by the ministry. Thus, says Kimura, Japan's public health policies lag behind other developed countries, by "decades."[4]

See also


  1. Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare website Organization of the Ministry of Health, Labor, and Welfare Retrieved on November 23rd 2010
  2. The Japan Times Bus crash in Gunma leaves seven dead, 39 injured April 30 2012 Retrieved on July 27, 2012
  3. The Yomiuri Shimbun 80% of tour bus firms found to violate laws July 20 2012 Retrieved on July 27, 2012
  4. Otake, Tomoko, "Ministry insider speaks out", Japan Times, November 1, 2009, p. 10.

Coordinates: 35°40′23″N 139°45′11″E / 35.673°N 139.753°E / 35.673; 139.753

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