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Japan Health Research Promotion Bureau (JH)

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Background of Establishment

The six national centers for advanced and specialized medicine (NCs) in Japan* have been devoting efforts to conducting surveys, research, and technology development regarding medical care for specific diseases that can pose serious effects on the health of the public, offering medical care closely related to these activities, and providing education and training for medical technicians. These NCs were turned into independent administrative corporations in 2010, and then into national research and development agencies in 2015 in order to maximize the results of research and development.

* National Cancer Center Japan (Tokyo), the National Cerebral and Cardiovascular Center (Osaka), the National Center of Neurology and Psychiatry (Tokyo), the National Center for Global Health and Medicine (Tokyo), the National Center for Child Health and Development (Tokyo), and the National Center for Geriatrics and Gerontology (Aichi)

They have also been responding to various challenges facing public healthcare according to the changes in the times, by addressing the areas in which sufficient efforts have not been made, including intractable and rare diseases.

In a time when patients are becoming increasingly diverse and complex due to rapid changes in the demographic structure and disease structure, the NCs need to provide cross-disease medical care--which can only be done by them--by strengthening their coordination and functions. The responsibility and role of the NCs have grown significantly. With the decline in Japan's research and development capabilities, NCs are expected to play a stronger leadership role in research and development in the medical field of Japan.

In this context, discussions on the future of the NCs were conducted by the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare and experts, and in December 2018, a report was compiled, stating that:

The NCs should play a central role in providing medical care in specific diseases that can pose serious effects on the health of the public and continue to promote R&D making the most of their strength of having hospitals. With patients becoming increasingly diverse and complex resulting from rapid changes in the demographic and disease structures, it is necessary to strengthen coordination and functions of NCs so that cross-disease approaches can be taken. To this end, a cross-functional research promotion organization should be established as an internal organization of the six NCs for the time being, with commencement of operation expected in fiscal year 2020.

Under these circumstances, Japan Health Research Promotion Bureau (JH) was established to create innovation with an eye toward world-leading R&D and medical care, by collecting and coordinating resources and information of the six NCs and by promoting organic and functional cooperation and collaboration while taking full advantage of expertise of individual medical institutions. Its ultimate goal is to contribute to enhancing Japan's clinical research capabilities.