pp. 6-9 in Bioethics and the Impact of Human Genome Research in the 21st Century

Editors: Norio Fujiki, Masakatu Sudo, and Darryl R. J. Macer
Eubios Ethics Institute

Copyright 2001, Eubios Ethics Institute All commercial rights reserved. This publication may be reproduced for limited educational or academic use, however please enquire with the author.

1.1. Opening Address

Norio Fujiki (President, IBESF)

Today, the 2nd of November, in this mid-autumn season sweet with the smell of chrysanthemums, comes the time for us to open this the 7th International Bioethics Seminar in Fukui. Looking back to the first seminar in 1987, we welcomed my esteemed mentor, Prof. Jean Bernard, the first Emeritus President of the National Consultative Committee on Bioethics Life Science, and former President of the French National Academy of Sciences, who gave a key-note address on the at the time unfamiliar topic of the history and function of the bioethics committee, followed by a discourse on human dignity by the Rev. Inoue of Eiheiji Temple, and reports on bioethics in Canada and Thailand from Professors James Miller and Pinit Ratanakul, then on the situation in Japan by Nakakawa, medical training (Sooma), genetic diagnosis and treatment (Sakaki), international comparisons of medical genetics (Okura), education of handicapped children (Fujisawa), reproductive medicine (Mori), international ethics (Hoshino), opinion surveys (Shirai) and finally public lectures by Ohura and Nakamura, all of which were well-received.

Over the past 13 years we have had 6 seminars, with a total of over 1000 participants, at which not only physicians and biologists, but also ethicists, legal experts, sociologists, and other policy-makers and experts have joined with the general public in ethical debate, and through a deepening and strengthening of bioethics sought to build bridges between science, technology and society.

My mentor, Prof Bernard, in a recent UNESCO IBC newsletter, has written of "Money and Ethics" as a future main theme, and appealed for discussion of the organ transplant business in developing countries and pharmaceutical companies in the developed countries along with problems of disease and life-expectancy that span both North and South.

This time we have organized the 7th seminar under the joint auspices of the Fukui Bioethics Seminar Committee and MURS, Japan and linked to the Fukui Prefecture Life Academy, open to the general public and planning for a wide-ranging program of discussion and education around the themes of "Genomics and Drug Discovery" and "Guidelines for Genetic Medical Services", on the present state of the science and technology of drug development, tailor-made genetic diagnosis and treatment, and DNA chips and SNP technology for DNA polymorphism studies of multi-factorial diseases such as cancer and the so-called life-style diseases, and key-note and explanatory lectures, as well as a panel debate, by experts on problems of policy and ethics.

Although you must already be tired after the international meetings in Tsukuba and Tokyo, we hope that while deepening and strengthening bioethics, you will at the same time enjoy and take back with you wonderful memories of the beautiful scenery and traditional cultural legacy of Fukui.

1.2. Welcome address

Masakatsu Sudo (President, Fukui Medical University)

On behalf of the organizing committee, it is a great pleasure for me to give the welcome address for the seventh International Bioethics Seminar in Fukui in the presence of so many distinguished guests from abroad.

In 1987, the first International Bioethics Seminar in Fukui, which was entitled Human Dignity in Medicine, was attended by Professor Jean Bernard who was the keynote a lecturer. It resulted in a great success and impacting considering the fact that the concept of Bioethics was yet unfamiliar in our country at that time.

Thereafter there have been a five International Bioethics seminars in Fukui including topics such as the Bioethics in Asia, medical genetics, and Human Genome Research, and scientific responsibility for protection of the human genome. In the 21st century genome research on living organisms will definitely progress further and new findings will increase tremendously. The combination of these results and new technology will create various new possibilities.

However, human genome research may bring about dangers or problems, which are associated with human dignity, discrimination, or the right to receive the fruits of the progress of medical science and technology is respective of the income level and so on. I hope the present seminar will provide clear direction for bioethics in the 21st century.

Fukui was the gate of ancient Japan to the cultures of China and Korea. I hope that all you participants from abroad will have an opportunity to enjoy the traditional culture and beauties of nature during your stay in Fukui.

1.3. Welcome address

Yukio Kurita (Governor, Fukui Prefecture)

I would like to offer my congratulations to everyone at the opening of this, the Seventh International Bioethics Seminar in Fukui. On behalf of the people of Fukui, I would like to extend a warmer welcome to all of you who have come to Fukui from overseas and from a around Japan.

The theme of this seminar is ethics and human genome research in the 21st century. I am told that this seminar will approach this important topic from a number of different perspectives through a variety of lectures and a panel discussion. This seminar is being held in cooperation with the Fukui life Academy, and Fukui's Prefecture's Lifelong Learning Association. I am delighted that the people of Fukui can be part of this event.

It has been 13 years since the first International Bioethics Seminar was held in Fukui in 1987. Since then there have been remarkable scientific advances in the field of medicine. However the application of advanced medical techniques in clinical practice is seriously challenging conventional views on life and ethics. Human genome research, the theme of this seminar, holds great potential for developing treatments for and preventing disease, but at the same time raises many issues, especially regarding privacy.

In the midst of this, the participants of the seminar, as the world's leading authorities not only in the fields of medicine and biology but also in ethics, sociology, and law, stand as bridges between science and technology and the rest of society. I have no doubt that the opportunity to cross the borders between your various disciplines and present your leading edge research here will prove extremely meaningful in thinking about the shape of bioethics in the future.

In Fukui prefecture to, in response to an aging population, changes in social conditions, and the diversification of the structure of diseases, we are undertaking a number of measures so that the people of Fukui can realize a lifestyle that is full of vitality and peace of mind. In this sense, I am confident that this seminar will play an extremely important role in creating a direction for medicine that is focused on building a richer future for humankind in the 21st century.

While I have the opportunity, I would like to urge you in whatever time you can find to explore some of the scenic beauty Fukui has to offer, such as the Echizen Coast and Wakasa Bay, and to enjoy the warm hearted hearts of the people of Fukui.

In closing, allow me to express my hope that this Seventh International Bioethics Seminar in Fukui is successful, achieves many fruitful results, it comes to a smooth conclusion. I would like to offer you as participants in this conference might prepares for your continued health and productivity into the future.

0.4. Congratulatory Message

Jean Bernard (France)

Please send comments to Email < asianbioethics@yahoo.co.nz >.

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