Background Ethics committees and their system of research protocol peer-review are currently used worldwide. To ensure an international standard for research ethics and safety, however, data is needed on the quality and function of each nation's ethics committees. The purpose of this study was to describe the characteristics and developments of ethics committees established at medical schools and general hospitals in Japan. Methods This study consisted of four national surveys sent twice over a period of eight years to two separate (...) samples. The first target was the ethics committees of all 80 medical schools and the second target was all general hospitals with over 300 beds in Japan (n = 1457 in 1996 and n = 1491 in 2002). Instruments contained four sections: (1) committee structure, (2) frequency of annual meetings, (3) committee function, and (4) existence of a set of guidelines for the refusal of blood transfusion by Jehovah's Witnesses. Results Committee structure was overall interdisciplinary. Frequency of annual meetings increased significantly for both medical school and hospital ethics committees over the eight years. The primary activities for medical school and hospital ethics committees were research protocol reviews and policy making. Results also showed a significant increase in the use of ethical guidelines, particularly those related to the refusal of blood transfusion by Jehovah's Witnesses, among both medical school and hospital ethics committees. Conclusion Overall findings indicated a greater recognized degree of responsibilities and an increase in workload for Japanese ethics committees. (shrink)
Public satisfaction with policy process influences the legitimacy and acceptance of policies, and conditions the future political process, especially when contending ethical value judgments are involved. On the other hand, public involvement is required if effective policy is to be developed and accepted.
Compared to institutional and area-based ethics committees, little is known about the structure and activities performed by ethics committees at national medical organizations and societies. This five year follow-up study aimed to determine (1) the creation and function of ethics committees at medical organizations in Japan, and (2) their general strategies to deal with ethical problems. The study sample included the member societies of the Japanese Association of Medical Sciences (n=92 in 1998, n=96 in 2003). Instruments consisted of two sections: (...) (1) the structure, function and activities of ethics committees, and (2) the strategies for dealing with ethical problems. Response rates were 84.4% in 1998 and 64.4% in 2003. Findings showed a significant increase of ethics committees at medical organizations between 1998 (25.6%) and 2003 (50.0%). Members were mostly male, medical doctors in clinical or basic medicine, and members of the organization. The major functions of ethics committees were ethical reviews of research protocols, policy making and ethical reviews of manuscripts submitted for journal publication. Among organizations that did not have an ethics committee, a significant decrease was found in organizations that replied that they had never experienced an ethical problem which needed further investigation (p<0.01). Findings suggested an overall rise in awareness of the importance of ethical issues and also highlighted an increase in recognition of responsibility regarding ethical problems. (shrink)
In Legends of the Samurai, Sato confronts both the history and the legend of the samurai, untangling the two to present an authentic picture of these legendary warriors. Through his masterful translations of original samurai tales, laws, dicta, reports, and arguments accompanied by insightful commentary, Hiroaki Sato chronicles the changing ethos of the Japanese warrior from the samurai's historical origins to his rise to political power. For this purpose, Sato has chosen to translate, wherever possible, writings closest in time to (...) the actual event. His translations are a testament to his mastery of the language for they flow with lively ease that one might not expect from accounts, many of which are ancient. Legends of the Samurai covers legends from mythological times to the early eighteenth century. Through this book Sato describes men accomplished in martial arts, warrior-commanders in battle, and samurai's own views of themselves. It ends with a famous modern retelling of a mass disembowelment in the mid-seventeenth century. (shrink)
In 1997, after long social debates, the Japanese government enacted a law on organ transplantation from brain-dead bodies. Since 1993, on gene therapy, administrative agencies have issued a series of guidelines. This study seeks to elucidate when people became aware of the issues and when they formed their opinions on organ transplant and gene therapy. At the same time, it aims to examine at which point in time experts, those in university ethical committees and in academic societies, consider these technologies (...) became accepted among the public. A self-administered questionnaire was sent by mail to a stratified random sampling of 3000 people nationwide in Japan. Another questionnaire was sent both to the member societies of the Japanese Association of Medical Sciences and to the ethical committees of all the medical schools in Japan. Results of the surveys indicated that many of the public remained undecided on the desirability of organ transplant or gene therapy at the time of enactment of official guidelines. A substantial part of them formed their opinions in subsequent periods, especially around the time of first implementation and thereafter. Experts of the academic societies and of the university ethical committees regarded the time of implementation as an important factor in the acceptance of the technologies in society. Since many people formed their opinion during the period of technological implementation, communications efforts to facilitate public understanding of science and technology, as well as to advance practical discussion on policy alternatives in this period can play a key role in determining the fate of technological innovation and ethical debates in medicine. (shrink)