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HOME  > Past issues  > 2009 June 17 - 23  > JCP abstains from voting on bill to define brain death as human death
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2009 June 17 - 23 [POLITICS]

JCP abstains from voting on bill to define brain death as human death

June 19, 2009
The House of Representatives on June 18 approved a bill on new rules regarding organ transplants. The bill defines brain death as human death and eliminates the requirement of a written will for organ donations and a ban on them from children under 15. The bill was sent to the House of Councilors.

The Japanese Communist Party abstained from voting, and all the other parties left the decision to individual lawmakers.

In a statement prior to the vote in the House of Representatives Plenary Session, JCP Diet Policy Commission Chair Kokuta Keiji said, “Insufficient time allotted for discussions can make it difficult to establish public understanding of the issues involved to form a national consensus.”

The bill to revise the Organ Transplant Law to ease restrictions on donations for organ transplants was proposed by like-minded legislators. The vote took place by open ballot. Out of 430 votes in total, 263 were in favor.

At a news conference later in the day, JCP Chair Shii Kazuo pointed out that the bill contains many problems such as accepting the cessation of brain functions as human death.

He said, “More efforts should have been made to build a national consensus through all-out Diet discussions as well as a nationwide debate. Without making such efforts, it has been too hasty and sloppy for the House of Representatives to take a vote in the plenary session. In the House of Councilors, we will start again from scratch. It is essential to hold thorough discussions in order to form a public consensus. - Akahata, June 19, 2009
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