Japanese Government Warns Hospitals Against Transplant Tourism to China
Japanese Government Warns Hospitals Against Transplant Tourism to China

Human rights lawyer David Matas in 2006, called for the Japanese government to ban Japanese seeking organ transplants in China, because of harvesting of organs from Falun Gong practitioners. (Yoshikazu Tsuno/AFP/Getty Images)
Human rights lawyer David Matas in 2006, called for the Japanese government to ban Japanese seeking organ transplants in China, because of harvesting of organs from Falun Gong practitioners. (Yoshikazu Tsuno/AFP/Getty Images)
The Japanese government recently warned hospitals from assisting with transplant tourism to China after an investigation of over two hundred hospitals uncovered several doctors who had provided such assistance . Transplant tourism to China is disallowed by the Japanese Society for Transplantation because of China’s lack of transparency and use of prison inmates in obtaining organs.

The Japanese Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare conducted investigations of 247 hospitals in Japan, finding that doctors in five of the hospitals, including several in Tokyo, were found to have aided patients by providing their medical histories to agencies who could arrange organ transplants overseas for them. The Ministry of Health warned the hospitals not to assist in illegal organ trafficking.

It is not currently known which agencies may have obtained patient information, or whether any patients have already undergone transplants overseas. An announcement sent out on Feb. 15 by the Ministry of Health calls on hospitals not to get involved with illegal organ transplants and states: “Organ transplants that are not approved by the government are not only illegal but are organs for sale. Please contact the Ministry if suspected agencies attempt to obtain or breech patient information.”

The Ministry asked medical personnel in large hospitals as well as small clinics not to assist with illegal, commercialized organ transplants and warned them to handle patient information with caution.

In one case, a doctor from Kanazawa University Hospital was cleared of any wrongdoing after being suspected of assisting patients with getting organ transplants in China.He was suspected of meeting at the hospital with an organ transplant agency’s employee, to assist a male patient from the hospital to receive an organ. The employee’s testimony stated that the doctor was willing to assist the patient and that they discussed the procedures.

The doctor declined to comment, citing legal reasons.

Kanazawa University Hospital conducted its own investigation of the alleged meeting within the hospital. On Jan. 12, the hospital’s internal investigation concluded that the doctor did not assist the agency with organ transplants. No specific evidence was provided.

Since organ transplants have become a common practice in China in recent years, the Japan Society for Transplantation (JST) has banned removing organs from death row inmates and organs obtained through organ sales.

Kanazawa University Hospital maintains that “the receiving [of] organ transplants in China violates the JST’s policies of ethics.”

Read the original Chinese article

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