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Organ donation card proving popular

Date Posted: 1999-03-06

Organ transplants are a relatively new thing to the Japanese in general, mostly because of religious beliefs and archaic laws concerning the definition of death. The laws were changed last year to accommodate organ transplants and the first heart transplant in Japan in three decades was performed in Osaka last week.

In Kochi Prefecture, organ transplant was performed utilizing organs of a brain dead. On the day the operation, Japan Organ Donation Network's sub-center in Okinawa received many inquiries from the local residents, asking where and how to sign up for donating organs.

There is a donor card that indicates that the carrier of the card has given a permission to give his or her organs in the case of brain death. The center is planning to distribute donor forms to convenience stores and public offices. Similar card for foreigners already exists in English, and the network officials are currently negotiating with representatives of the U.S. Military in Okinawa to distribute donor cards on base facilities.

The Prefectural Central Hospital in Okinawa City and the Hospital of the University of Ryukyus are designated to care for the patients in need of organ transplants. They are also tasked to keep a registry of donors. Detailed guidelines for organ transplant operations are also in the works.

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