A Reply to Leavitt's Commentary - Let's Stop Bashing
- Takashi Tsuchiya
Associate Professor, Department of Philosophy
Faculty of Literature and Human Sciences
Osaka City University, Osaka 558-8585, JAPAN
Eubios Journal of Asian and International Bioethics 13 (2003), 167-8.
I read Dr. Frank J. Leavitt's commentary "Let's Stop
Bashing Japan: Commentary on Tsuchiya, Sass, Thomas, Nie & Tsuneishi"
in EJAIB 13 (4) [July 2003],
pp.134-135. I think Frank made
some good points, but several of his criticisms are out of point and unfair
especially to my paper "In The Shadow of the Past Atrocities: Research
Ethics with Human Subjects in Contemporary Japan" in EJAIB 13 (3) [May 2003].
First, he wrote about racist attitude of some of his
students. It tells us a
disappointing truth that even harshly discriminated people in history like Jews
can discriminate against other ethnic groups. But it is their problem, or a problem to Frank as their
teacher, not mine. I can only say
"DO NOT discriminate against people of ANY OTHER ethnicities." That's all.
Second, he listed many other atrocities happened in history
than of Japanese doctors'. But, of
course, it cannot be excuse for Japanese.
Atrocity is atrocity. EVERY
PERSON who performs atrocity must be accused. This thesis was clearly stated in Jing-Bao's first
commentary to my paper in EJAIB 11(1)
[January 2001], wasn't it?
Third, he pointed out that my thesis that the issue of human
experimentation has become a taboo in Japanese medical profession must be false
because we could discuss about it at TRT7 at the Tsukuba University Medical
School. But I just wrote that it
has become taboo "in the medical profession," not merely "in the
medical school's building."
TRT is clearly NOT a conference of the mere medical profession, NEVER of
Japanese medical profession. Frank
himself must knows it. So his
critique is unfair.
In addition, he is only guessing about my thesis. But I have evidence. I can find very few references on
research ethics when I surveyed Japanese bibliographies of medical
writings. For example, according
to the Igaku Chuo Zasshi (the Central Bibliography of Japanese Medicine), the
most popular bibliography of medicine in Japan, there are only 16 articles on
human research out of 675 BIOETHICS articles from January 1987 to February
Fourth, he wrote that little discussion on ethics of human
research in behavioral sciences is not unique situation to Japan. That's fine. I agree. I did
not wrote "unique," but that it was a "characteristics." I never regard it unique to Japan. Still, it surely represents a character
of Japanese situation.
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