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Developing Basic Principles for Bioethics Policy in Japan (2007-10)

Active Years: 2007-2010

Cutting-edge medical research with a direct bearing on human life, including reproductive technologies like in vitro fertilization, genetic analysis and modification, cloning technology, and embryonic stem cell research, is progressing faster than many people imagined. Japan, however, has not yet forged a comprehensive bioethics policy framework that can cope with such advances. This project attempts to construct policy principles that can serve as the basis for society’s decisions regarding pioneering research in life science and medicine and its clinical applications.

The project’s diverse members include doctors, biologists, sociologists, lawyers, anthropologists, and religious scholars. We hold public symposiums and experts’ meetings to actively seek the opinions of the media, nonprofit organizations, and ordinary citizens. In the spring of 2009, the project released a proposal analyzing the balance between things that should not be done for ethical reasons and things that can be done under academic freedom as guaranteed by the Constitution. We also plan to issue a proposal for the formulation of rules governing assistive reproductive technologies, particularly surrogacy.

When the Diet deliberated the revision of the Organ Transplant Law in the summer of 2009, the Tokyo Foundation actively lobbied legislators to consider the difficulties inherent in stipulating “brain death” as human death in law. We held several study meetings specially for Diet members and released an emergency statement signed by more than 60 supporters, including researchers and medical practitioners.


  • Nudeshima, Jiro (–2017.6) RESEARCH FELLOW


  • Hong, Hyunsoo (2008-09)
  • Kokado, Minori (2008-09)

Project manager(s):

  • Tomita, Kiyoyuki

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