pp. 296 in Bioethics in Asia

Editors: Norio Fujiki and Darryl R. J. Macer, Ph.D.
Eubios Ethics Institute

Copyright 2000, Eubios Ethics Institute All commercial rights reserved. This publication may be reproduced for limited educational or academic use, however please enquire with the author.

C3. Closing Address

Hyakudai Sakamoto,

President, Asian Bioethics Association; Nihon University, Tokyo

We are now closing the UNESCO-Asian Bioethics conference. First of all, I would like to congratulate the great success of the conference thanks to your participation not only from Asian regions but also on the international or global scale. Also, we should express deep gratitude to the executive members of the conference including Prof. Okamoto, Prof. Fujiki, Prof. Macer and others for the good-organizing of the conference, as well as to UNESCO-IBC, Mme Lenoir and Dr. Shapiro for their warm support.

I now believe, through our sincere, wide ranging and philosophically deep debate, we have succeeded in furthering our steps in the study of Asian bioethics. However, Asian Bioethics is only a recently born international topic to discuss, and also, it has the enormous, and great background in our culture. In spite of our wide and deep discussion, I am afraid, many essential and important problems are left still unclarified, unanalysed and unsolved. Asian Bioethics is still a great gEnigmah, so to speak.

Among those problems left to our future discussion, I would like to point out the following five topics.

1. What is (or are) the essential(s) of the Asian Bioethics? Is it essentially distinguished from on-going, Euro-American Bioethics? And accordingly, is it impossible to find a universal bioethics? I am very impressed that Dr. David Shapiro quoted the universality of bioethics on behalf of an ideal of UNESCO. On the contrary, many Asian people put much stress on the differences of the ethics in their own societies.

2. What is the essential nature of Asian humanism? Both European and Asian people use the same term gHumanismh. But do they have the same connotation? Euro-American Humanism is said to be ghuman-centrismh and it holds gFrontier mentalityh in the depth, and it caused genvironmental destructionh of these centuries. On the contrary, Asian humanism may be quite different, according to the different view of human being.

3. Can Asian culture accept the gUniversality of Fundamental Human Rightsh? Western Bioethics is built on the basis of the firm belief in the guniversality of fundamental human rightsh which follows the idea of gautonomy of human personh. However, in Asia, ghuman rightsh are sometimes rejected in the name of profit or harmony of gcommunitiesh. This is a communitarian way of thinking. Now, how can we compromise these both antagonistic ways of thinking?

4. About religion, many Asian participants talked on their own religions and their bioethical connotation. However, Western type bioethics is reluctant to religious theory. For instance, T. Engelhardt recommended gSecular Ethicsh which tried to exclude religious dogma to intrude into bioethics, and also , Peter Singer rejects religious dogmas which is valued only within the religions to be ethical. How should we treat religion in this international bioethical trends.

5. Modern and contemporary science and technology is often said to be antagonistic against Asian Naturalism. How can we theorize newly arisen science and technology today such as, genetics, Human Genome Project, and cloning of human individuals in the possible Asian Bioethics. And do we accept new movement to revive Eugenics completely free from Nazistfs vice, instead, in the name of Asian communitarianism? This is also serious problem imposed to us, Asian bioethicists.

Next year, from November 4-7th, we are going to have the 4th IAB World Congress in Tokyo. Letfs gather again at this chance, and discuss these issues thoroughly.

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

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