Editors: Michio Okamoto, M.D., Norio Fujiki, M.D. & Darryl R.J. Macer, Ph.D.
In the past, scientists were challengers against the established society; sometimes their action was considered as a rebellion against the existing authority. To utilize science for industrial development, social restructuring was the responsibility of those who belonged to the establishment, viz., industrial people and government officials. In other words, the risk of science had to be shouldered by the side of the establishment.
Now the science is the main basis of the society and the position of scientists is settled in the authorized structure. Hence, the scientists of today must be responsible for all conseuqneces of science.
Today's discussion will be focused on the human genome, the situation of which is more complicated than that in usual cases of bioethics. Not only the scientists but also individual persons involved, including the patients themsleves, cannot get rid of ethical and social responsibility. I very much hope and expect that the fruit of this seminar will shed an illuminating light on this difficult and intricate subject.
Former Japanese Ambassador to UNESCO
Madame Lenoir is a specialist in public law, and the first woman member of France's prestigious Constitutional Council. Madame Lenoir is the author of a comprehensive report on bioethics, "Aux Frontieres de la Vie".
The lecture Madame Lenoir will deliver to us will certainly be with a broad perspective as well as of deep thought. She is very charming but at the same time superbly brilliant. She is above all a humanist, preoccupied with the protection of and respect for human rights and human dignity.
UNESCO has been very enthusiastic about bioethics, and positively engaged in activities for promoting bioethics. Mr. Federico Mayor, UNESCO's Director-general, is himself a well-known Spanish biologist. When I met him in Tokyo last month, and talked about this seminar, he pointed out that genetics is actually "Gene-ethics". He has chosen an excellent person as the president of the committee to which he attaches a great importance.
It is well-timed that the joint seminars have now been organized to discuss the problems of bioethics, with the participation of Madame Lenoir, and leading biologists, medical and clinical experts, and top level philosophers and lawyers of Japan. The discussions and exchanges of views at the seminars at Tokyo, Nagoya, Fukui and Kyoto of such high level experts will not fail to provide the Japanese people with an excellent and refreshing stimulation for thinking over how the bioethics should be pursued and applied in Japan, in the Japanese society and in the Japanese culture.
It is earnestly hoped that the discussions at these joint seminars will be directed not only to the relations between ethics and biology and genetics, but also to the relations between the science and the ethics, and between the science and the society in general. It is also hoped that enlightening debates will be made on the potentials in the remarkable progress of science and technologies, and on their implications for the future of humanity, including the risks which may accompany them.
Furthermore, perhaps more importantly, it is sincerely hoped that these seminars will give the therapeutic clinics valuable guidelines in their conduct of medical practices. I would like to express deep appreciation to the organizers of the seminars. It is encouraging that the organizers include a number of therapeutic doctors, and it is expected that the seminars will be practical as well as theoretical.
Lastly, I would like to express heartfelt thanks to Madame Lenoir for coming all the way from Paris. We eagerly look forward to listening to her lecture on this critically important subject for humanity. Thank you!