Kanoko Matsuyama is a Bloomberg reporter based in Tokyo, where she covers the health care industry in Asia. She recently contributed to a story about an Ebola drug being shipped to Africa, and she’s also done a great deal of coverage in recent years on aging and its effect on populations.
In Depth spoke with Kanoko to discuss her recent work and her overall observations about the state of health care in Asia today.
The Ebola virus is a major issue worldwide that’s gotten a lot of attention on a massive scale. What’s it like to work with a large team of reporters on a global topic like that?
When you hear there’s an Ebola outbreak in Africa, Japan isn’t one of the first countries that comes to people’s mind. The country is thousands of miles away from the epicenter and is homogeneous without many immigrants traveling in between. Our story was the first to connect the dots: Japan’s scientific discovery can probably play a significant role in treating dying Ebola-infected patients.
It was a pretty amazing feeling when we pushed that story out. We were fortunate to be the first to report it, thanks to my talented colleagues all around the world, reporting on the ground, sharing ideas and working together to break stories. When I speak to them, it makes me feel how the world has become so small and global news can be so close to you. It’s one of many strengths Bloomberg News has, and we were able to take a full advantage of it with this story.
What does the future hold for health care in Asia? Are there any emerging trends in particular that you have your eye on?
The world is aging, and Japan is the best place to report it. The Confucian-influenced society, which venerated the elderly and obligated families to care for them, is aging rapidly and experiencing a significant demographic shift while grappling with the conflicting demands of modernization and the scarce funding to support them.
What’s happening in Japan has a great implication to most of the Confucian-influenced societies in Asia, from Vietnam to South Korea because their populations are also aging, perhaps at the same pace or faster, in the coming decades. This topic resonates with everyone, as every country faces the challenge of finding funding to care for their aging citizens.