This first issue of the Eubios Journal of Asian and International Bioethics (EJAIB), builds on the Eubios Ethics Institute Newsletter (EEIN), which I have been expanding since the end of 1990. On p.23 is a list of editorial board members addresses, who have joined this enterprise to represent the corners of Asia, and International Bioethics. The strong focus on genetics and bioethics will continue, and the newsletter listing of new publications with occasional comments, will continue to be done by myself. For this purpose I would appreciate people sending copies of reprints and interesting news.
The journal will focus on Asia, but even as you can see from the comments and letters included, it is not meant to be limited geographically or philosophically. The EEIN reached about 70 countries of the world and had got to a circulation figure compatible with major Bioethics journals. To keep the rapid submission-to-print feature with the incorporation of systematic peer review , and to keep the cost down, the journal is being published from the Eubios Ethics Institute, with our own limited resources and the philosophical support of several Bioethics associations as listed on the back page. It does not have a glossy cover, and you cannot tell a book by its cover - but we hope the discussions will not be so glossy either.
In this first issue we tackle the issue of Asian Bioethics, regionalism or universalism in several papers. On the editorial board of this journal there are representatives of both schools of thought, and we hope all of us have open minds to explore the data and reasoning and culture that people can contribute. This debate will continue to feature prominently in EJAIB. The East Asian Association of Bioethics is being formed later in 1995, and several views on this follow this editorial.
Following them is a paper on environmental ethics with commentaries. We would appreciate a range of comments be discussed, and we see several religious and philosophical views expressed here.
I have just returned from a Christmas in New Zealand, where it was warm and now we are back to the winter. Just as we were printing the news of the earthquake in Kobe came, which was a surprise to many. Sadly the buildings and roads which were "earthquake" proof were not, and it makes us think of risk assessment, and the consequences that we will be prepared to accept using cost-benefit analyses.
A couple of extra notes to add. On the 27 October the University Animal Research Centre held its annual memorial service for the research animals. In the past year 13,000 animals were used, and about 110 persons came to the shrine for experimental animals outside the animal research centre. It was my first time to participate, in the 20 minute service, during which time the people place a white chrysanthemum on the shrine while saying a short prayer. It is among trees, with birds flying overhead - overall a very interesting experience. It may serve for the relief of guilt of using animals, and recognising their contribution to research. Earlier in the month the annual memorial service for the families who gave dead relatives bodies for research, education, and autopsies was held. In the past year 214 bodies were given, included were about a dozen or so fetuses. This is a part of Japan that appears to be unique, I wonder if anyone can tell us of parallels. It is the intricacies of culture we would like to explore, and we look forward to your comments and papers.
A Happy New Year from Tsukuba, and thank you to all the supporters who have replied.- Darryl Macer