Contested embryonic culture in Japan--public discussion, and human embryonic stem cell research in an aging welfare society.
Medical anthropology 2010 Jan ; 29(1): 44-70
This article explores the reasons for the lack of a broad discussion on bioethical regulation of human embryonic stem cell research (hESR) in Japan and asks why scientists experience difficulties accessing resources for hESR despite the acclaimed indifference of dominant Japanese culture to embryo research. The article shows how various social actors express their views on the embryo and oocyte donation in terms of dominant Japanese culture, foiled against what is regarded as Western culture. Second, it shows how the lack of concern with hESR should be understood in the context of public health policies and communications and bioethics decision making in Japan. Finally, it interprets the meaning of the embryo in the context of Japan as an aging modern welfare society, explaining how policymakers have come to emphasize the urgency of infertility problems over issues around abortion and embryonic life.
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