Japan outlaws human reproductive cloningby Anna KrohnNews Weekly
, December 16, 2000
In the last week of November, the upper house of the Japanese Parliament passed a bill (229 to 11) which will make the implantation of human clones a criminal offence.
The practice of so-called "reproductive" cloning will be punishable by up to 10 years imprisonment or by fines of up to 10 million yen (US $90,000.) The new law will also ban the creation of animal-human hybrids and the creation of "chimera" embryos (which combine animal and human DNA or cells parts). The law also requires the Japanese government to apply stricter guidelines to projects which propose the creation of experimental human embryo clones.
A spokesman for the Science and Technology Agency, which has contributed to the formulation of the legislation, told the press, that the new law reflected the growing anxiety that human cloning would "pose a threat to the maintenance of social order, the foundation of which was the family."
The Japanese government has also been eager to prove to its G-8 partners that it is conversant with the United Nations agreements and the European Union laws on the Human Genome and human cloning. Adopting some of the Union's language the Japanese law states that human reproductive cloning "could have a serious impact on human dignity and the biological safety of the human body".