Editorial - Plans & Reality

Eubios Journal of Asian and International Bioethics 6 (1996), 121.
Since I prepared the last issue of EJAIB at the end of June, it has been a busy two months, and it is now mid-Sept when this issue is finished (as planned). Most of this time we have been out of Japan, and it offered the chance to meet many friends, colleagues and attend several meetings, and to at times realise that plans are made to be broken, and reality is often different to what we expect. When I think of the coming few months, which also are laid out with a series of conferences and research trips, it will be a busy time and I wonder if any plans will be broken. Yet, this uncertainty is one of the truths of life that we must deal with. It is also an uncertainty that bioethics should thrive in.

In July I visited Belgium and the UK. A few further references were added thanks to the use of the BIODOC of DGXII of the European Commission, a collection of many documents by Dr B. Zechendorf. There were plans made with some colleagues in Belgium and the UK to develop collaborative research, and networking. Most are readers of EJAIB, and I was impressed by the growth in bioethics research in the UK over the past year. I attended a conference Morals for the Millenium, in Lancaster, on moral education. Stimulating to meet people in a new field, it also proved to be the launch of a complete mirror Internet site listed above. This should aid Americans and Europeans to access the resources when lines to Japan are slow.

August was spent in New Zealand, although mainly for family reasons, it allowed time to reinforce links with colleagues down there, and I will be back for a few trips in the coming months. The Internet site also had a boost with 3000+ abstracts going on the Internet that had been prepared by a colleague Ken Daniels. Comparative research is also a feature of the activities of the Asian Bioethics Network project, and see p. 150 for details of the Second International Bioethics Roundtable in Tsukuba Science City, 20-22 October, 1996.

This issue of the journal has papers on environmental ethics, brain death, genetic engineering, scientific ethics, bioethics in Korea, and guidelines on genetic testing from Japan. The News section was written in 3 long days, I urge people to send copies of reprints by mail or Email, and assemble a repository on the Internet. This is a plan that needs to be made into reality.

There were so many highlights, but the one that sticks out was last weekend in Montreal, 4-8 Sept, at a conference on DNA Sampling. Of course the conference was stimulating and the book will be excellent, focusing on genetics and bioethics; with many well known speakers (and my first trip to North America for four years!), but the highlight was more sad - a series of misunderstandings that lead to a perceived lock out of indigenous peoples who were protesting against the Human Genome Diversity Project. Personally I was enriched by extended contact with people of diverse views, and will write more about my altered lecture in the future, and seek harmony in diversity. A challenge of all reality is to build on events for the future, and to seek a bioethics for all the people by all the people, not only one which includes those who are expected.

- Darryl Macer

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