The ruling Democratic Party of Japan and the opposition leading Liberal Democratic Party are mulling the creation of a national certification system for clinical psychologists as suicide and depression refuse to abate, sources said Sunday.
The two parties plan to jointly submit a bill to the Diet next year that aimed at increasing the number of mental health counselors by providing them a more stable status, the sources said.
Talks were held on drafting legislation for such a system in 2005, but those were shot down by opposition from private psychiatrists, who apparently view certified clinical psychologists as competition.
The DPJ and the LDP will have to get the backing of relevant groups, including the Japan Medical Association, before submitting the bill, the sources said.
The two parties are holding unofficial consultations on the matter while calling on other parties, including New Komeito, a smaller opposition party, to cooperate, they said.
As of April 1, there were about 22,000 psychologists qualified by the Foundation of the Japanese Certification Board for Clinical Psychologists.