University of Minnesota

Fukui Statement on International Bioethics, Adopted at the Third International Bioethics Seminar (Fukui, Japan, 19-21 November 1993)


1. Bioethics should be viewed as an interdisciplinary field, not limited to any academic speciality, and including debate among all people, i.e. not only academics.

2. International cross-cultural bioethics should be developed, including studies and discussions, which respect individual cultures as long as they do not conflict with fundamental human rights, as outlined in the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights.

3. The methodology of bioethics should aim for cross-cultural understanding. Such understanding is necessary to develop international cross-cultural bioethics.

4. Harmonisation of some international laws and/or guidelines to restrict bioethical "tourism" (e.g. resource-able persons buying organs from the poor; buying the products of genetic technology for enhancement purposes; or using only the poor for medical experiments) is important. The human body (DNA, genes, cells, tissues or organs) should not be exploited as a source of profit.

5. Research on the thinking and reasoning of ordinary people should be more emphasised in order to understand the diversity of people's thinking. This is necessary for determining the degree of universality that is possible, and should be used to complement other research approaches in bioethics.

6. The life and medical sciences, especially human genome research and the application of genetic screening and gene therapy, present some important educational, ethical, legal and social issues which need to be considered at local, national and international levels.

7. Somatic cell gene therapy for treatment of disease is a useful medical therapy and should be used when needed and chosen by patients. However, germ-line gene therapy should not proceed until it is both technically safe, and a truly international public consensus has been sought. To achieve such a consensus first requires education which will take several decades in most parts of the world.

8. In order to achieve the above goals greater effort is required to educate all members of society about the scientific and clinical background, and the ethical principles and social and legal problems involved, in the life and medical sciences. This will enable the active collaboration of all individual members of society, many academic disciplines, and the international community.

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