This study aimed to clarify the popularization of palliative care units (PCUs) in Japan. As of August 2019, there were 430 PCUs (8,776 beds) where an estimated 64,472 cancer patients died in 2018 fiscal year. They accounted for 17.3% of total cancer deaths in Japan and 1.4 times more than those at home. The average length of stay in PCUs was on the decline, of which the National Health Insurance system was assumed to be a factor. Recently PCUs in local base hospitals were increasing, however, no PCUs were located in 42% of secondary medical areas, especially depopulated areas.