NPO announces end of organ transplants overseas at end of March

REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch
File photo-Surgeons extract the liver and kidneys of a brain-dead woman for transplantation donation at the Unfallkrankenhaus Berlin (UKB) hospital in Berlin January 12, 2008. The vital organs were transported for transplantation to patients in three German cities

The Intractable Disease Patient Support Association, a nonprofit organization based in Tokyo, announced Wednesday on its website that it will stop accepting new patients seeking organ transplant operations abroad at the end of March.

There have been suspicions about organ trafficking involving living kidney donor transplants through the intermediation of this NPO.

According to the group’s activity policy for 2023 uploaded on its website, the NPO said it will promote organ transplants in Japan from April. The group also stated, “We have never been involved in organ trafficking.”

Asked about the change of group’s activity policy from April, the NPO director told The Yomiuri Shimbun on the same day: “Patients can save money and reduce their burden when they undergo transplants in Japan, compared to transplants overseas.”

However, he added, “Regarding lung transplants [in which transplants from living donors are rare] and heart transplants, organs from cadaver donors are used. So, it’s quite possible that we’ll continue to introduce transplants overseas to patients.”

 On Dec. 27, the Japan Society for Transplantation and four other medical associations issued a joint statement aiming to eradicate practice of dubious organ transplants overseas.