Japan Science Council Approves Measure Endorsing Human Cloning

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jul 27, 2004   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Japan Science Council Approves Measure Endorsing Human Cloning

by Paul Nowak
LifeNews.com Staff Writer
July 27, 2004

Tokyo, Japan (LifeNews.com) — Japan’s highest science council approved human cloning for use in embryonic stem cell research on Friday. The council, led by Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, will now seek specific guidelines for the research from Japan’s other ministries.

Earlier this month, a life ethics subcommittee of the Council for Science and Technology Policy approved a report that allows for the use of cloning technology to produce embryonic stem cells for basic regenerative research. The full Council agreed with this recommendation on Tuesday.

Currently, so-called "therapeutic" cloning is banned in Japan, but the new regulations would allow the research provided the embryos were respected as "budding human life."

However, pro-life advocates oppose the "clone and kill" process that creates unborn children with the sole purpose of destroying them for their stem cells. They favor adult stem cell research, which uses stem cells from a variety of ethical sources and has proven more successful in clinical trials.

Under the Japanese measure, human embryos created from in vitro methods will remain restricted to reproductive health research, which means only cloned embryos will be used for research of regenerating damaged tissue in genetic disorders

Focus on the Family founder and chairman Dr. James Dobson recently called the media’s coverage of stem cell research a "scandal."

"To ignore the scientific realities, to fail to report that embryonic stem-cell research is the less promising course of action, to allow people who are suffering to develop false hope about possible treatment breakthroughs, is an unconscionable betrayal of the public trust," said Dobson.

Currently New Jersey has the most extreme pro-cloning legislation in effect in the U.S., allowing for the cloning, implantation, and destruction of human life from the embryonic through the newborn stages of prenatal development, funded by state taxes.