Thurs., July 25, 2024: AGI Seminar “Does free cancer screening make a difference? Evidence from the effects of a free-coupon program in Japan” (online)

We invite researchers who are engaged in research on Asia and hold AGI Seminars. Your participation is more than welcome!

*This seminar will be online and free of charge.

*Please refer to the following for details.

Date and Time

Thursday, July 25, 2024 from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm
*A question-and-answer session is scheduled at the end of the presentation.


Dr. Meng ZHAO (KONISHI), Professor, Faculty of International Social Sciences, Gakushuin University


Does free cancer screening make a difference? Evidence from the effects of a free-coupon program in Japan


Cancer risk increases with age rapidly after midlife. One of the serious consequences of population aging is the substantial adverse effect of cancer on labor productivity and health expenditures. To address this issue, mass cancer screening for target population is increasingly becoming a common practice. However, cancer screening rates remain low in many areas, and there is a lack of comprehensive understanding of the mental health effects of cancer screening. In 2009, a national free-coupon program was launched in Japan to provide free breast and cervical cancer screenings to the target population. The program further provided a voucher for a free colorectal cancer screening in 2011. Using rich data from the Comprehensive Survey of Living Conditions in Japan from 2007 to 2013, this study exploits the exogeneous variation in the incentive to receive cancer screening driven by the program to analyze: (a) the effects of the program on screening uptake and (b) the effects of cancer screening on mental health, self-reported symptoms, and smoking behavior. Our results suggest that the program significantly increased the probability of attending breast and cervical cancer screenings by approximately 9-10% and that of attending colorectal cancer screening by approximately 6% for female and 3% for male. Cancer screening appears to have some heterogeneous effects on mental health and smoking behavior, but the estimates are generally weak and/or inconsistent.


English presentation and material(s)

Presenter Biography

I am an applied economist with expertise in health economics and applied econometrics. Using microeconomic data from China and Japan, my research analyzes consumer’s human capital investment, health inequality and the effects of public policies. I earned my bachelor’s degree in Economics from Wuhan University, and my Ph.D. in Applied Economics from University of Minnesota in 2010. I am currently a professor at the Faculty of International Social Sciences of Gakushuin University.

To Participate

1. Online Registration

2. E-mail Registration
Please send us an e-mail at with your name, affiliation and phone number clearly stated.

We will send you a Zoom link for participation via e-mail by the day before the seminar.

Registration Deadline

Wednesday, July 24 at 12:00 pm


Staff Seminar on July 25 [in PDF format]

How to Participate Online