In this issue is the first announcement for the forthcoming East Asian Conference on bioethics. The registration forms will be available later, and bioethicists from around the world are invited to consider Asian bioethics. We would like to see discussion of some of the issues in EJAIB before then.
In developing bioethical policy suitable for Asia, we need to consider the experience of other countries in the world, as discussed by Ju Zhang. Whether a legal approach, as is common in Europe, and reviewed by Christian Byk, is appropriate for Asia is a matter for much debate - but it seems less appropriate in many cases. Some would question is suitability even within Europe.
We also have reports from Turkey and Croatia, two countries which have made recent legislative changes and practice guidelines for physicians. The treatment of different dilemmas in medical ethics is reviewed. Commentaries discuss the situation with international comparisons.
In the March issue a report from India discussed euthanasia, especially from a Christian viewpoint. In this issue, a report from Helga Kuhse reviews the recent debate in Australia that appears close to accepting legal euthanasia. She presents the other side of the debate, and the question of when the law does not face the fact of current practice and public opinion.
The past weekend was spent working, with a brief time to attend an Easter Service around preparing the Journal. A comment on the Jewish Passover by Frank Leavitt considers the time for a rest and the issue of animal sacrifices. There is also a brief response on the concept of stewardship by Roger Hedlund in response to Jayapaul Azariah's paper in the January issue.
Those with access to computers should note the announcement before the News section of the Bioethics Network. There are some interesting exchanges, though I personally find a shortage of time to spend the days on Internet. Nevertheless this is the way of the future, and probably by the time the next issue is finished this Journal will be open on the World Wide Web. The details will be given in the next issue, when I decide whether it will be from our Institute of Biological Sciences in Tsukuba or from another site.
I am writing this in the days before we go off to Europe for several weeks work, which will be good to catch up with some friends, colleagues, and meet some people at the other end of these columns. I do regret that the number of people I meet means a lack of deep personal letters exchanging debates on bioethics, but I hope that the Journal is some forum for broader exchange.
In March we visited New Zealand for two weeks, and the debate in New Zealand over health care reform and waiting lists, and closures of health facilities appears to be rising each time we visit. In Japan the discussion over the last month has centred on the subway gas murders, which made people realise the ease at which such terrorism can be effected. The religion cult suspected is called OM religious group (remember a paper on OM and the religious relevance of the word in India by J. Azariah last year in EEIN). They show the diversity of beliefs in Japan, and are suspected but not proven - although numerous arrests on minor charges have been made and their children taken away from the cult centre. Some ethical issues in policing could be debated, and we must wait to see if a link with the sarin gas release can be proven.- Darryl Macer