Volunteer Lawmakers Launch Study Group to Further Organ Transplantation; Measures Discussed to Address Organ Rejections

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
The Liberal Democratic Party’s headquarters building in Tokyo

Volunteer lawmakers from the ruling Liberal Democratic Party and Japan Innovation Party launched a study group on Wednesday aimed at examining policies to advance organ transplantation. The group began discussions on addressing such issues as transplant facilities repeatedly declining organ donations from brain-dead individuals due to reason such as staff shortages.

At the inaugural meeting, legislators from both parties discussed the issue. Hiromi Mitsubayashi, an LDP member of the House of Representatives, expressed concern, saying: “I feel a sense of crisis. Organs are being declined even though the number of organ donors [per capita] is one-tenth of that in South Korea.”

Satoshi Umemura, a JIP member of the House of Councillors, said, “We must fundamentally revise the transplantation system.”

During the meeting, JIP members presented LDP members with a draft amendment to the organ transplant law aimed at increasing the number of organ transplants. The proposal mandates that, when brain death is a possibility, medical institutions report patient information to the Japan Organ Transplant Network (JOT) — Japan’s organ transplant coordination organization.

The draft also emphasizes strengthening regulations to prevent an individual from traveling abroad to receive such transplants as those involving organs suspected of being trafficked.

The study group has planned regular hearings with experts on these topics and will propose solutions to both parties.