My name is S.W and I come from the United States. My hometown is Charleston, South Carolina. It is a historical town on the east coast, warm and humid in the summertime, with many beaches and natural scenery.
In college, my major was biology, but we also had to study a foreign language. I did not want to study Spanish or another language similar to English, so I decided to study Japanese. This sparked my interest in Japan, and I decided to go to Japan after college.
I came to Japan in late 2012. Before then, I had never lived in a foreign country before. I lived in Fukushima-Shi and worked as an English Teacher in public elementary schools for four years. During this time I met my wife, and we got married in 2015. Shortly after I decided to change jobs, moved to Tokyo, and joined the CRO industry in 2016.
Currently I am a member of the Global Development Department at intellim. I am a Project Manager for studies sponsored by foreign companies, but I help develop estimations and proposals for new projects as well.
2. Were there any problems when you started to live in Japan?
During my first year in Japan I did not understand Japanese well. I had many communication problems with my coworkers.
I sometimes accidentally rode the train going in the opposite direction of my intended destination, or got on the wrong bus.
And I had never experienced snow before. In Charleston it almost never snows, but in Fukushima it snows heavily and the winters are very harsh. My shoes were not appropriate and my clothes and gloves were too thin. I had to buy hot drinks from the vending machines to warm up my hands. I thought that I would freeze to death and become an icicle.
３．Differences of Health Care System between US and Japan
Healthcare Insurance in the US is much different than other nations, and is well known for being very expensive. For example, the cost of Hip Replacement Procedure is averaged at $32,000. The average cost of an MRI Procedure is around $2,600. Heart Bypass Surgeries cost can range between $70,000 to $200,000.
Why are the costs so high? Unlike Japan which has the Yakkan system through the government, pharmaceutical companies can set their own prices in the US. Higher rates of diagnostic testing (MRIs, CTs etc…), higher wages for health professionals, high rates of preventable diseases among the population, and high administrative costs also make the US more expensive. Healthcare is not universally provided, it is usually obtained through employers or can also be selected through the government. And in the case of employer provided insurance, depending on the insurance plan that your employer chooses, the types of medicine/treatments that you can get insurance for varies.
High insurance costs are a barrier for citizens with low-income. Generally speaking, the US has access to the best technology and most talented professionals, but compared to Japan, the costs can be outrageously high depending on your insurance plan, or lack of one.
4．Support System at intellim
I think that intellim is great because you can ask for support from different people. Your bosses are always willing to make time for you. There are few barriers between departments compared to other companies. Also, the flex system is very convenient. I can leave work early or come late, and I don’t have to ask for any kind of special permission. This is very helpful for me because I have a child.
５．My goals, dreams
Professionally, I want to help strengthen the relationship between Japan and other countries in the healthcare sector. Foreign sponsors doing trials in Japan, Japanese sponsors doing trials overseas. I want us to all have realistic expectations of each other.
６．Message to people who want to work in Japan
Work hard, don’t worry about small mistakes.