Medical futility in Japan

Yasuhiro Kadooka, Atsushi Asai

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Medical futility is a difficult issue to resolve and its concept is elusive. Unlike in Western countries, little research has been performed on this theme in Japan. However, the questions set forth by authors in this article indicate that many Japanese healthcare providers have already recognized the significance of this issue. Japan uses universal health insurance, which supports social justice and healthcare access for all. Japan has a rapidly aging population, and boasts the highest longevity in the world. Excessive attention to the goals of sustaining life without considering the patients’ personal wishes is considered the main problem of Japanese end-of-life care (Macer 2005). It is supposed that medical futility is an immediate problem that must be addressed in Japan. In this chapter, we describe the healthcare system, end-of-life issues, decision-making, related laws and guidelines, as well as euthanasia in Japan. We also show the results of our empirical survey on medical futility.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMedical Futility
Subtitle of host publicationA Cross-National Study
PublisherImperial College Press
Number of pages18
ISBN (Electronic)9781848169999
ISBN (Print)9781848169906
Publication statusPublished - 2013 Jan 1
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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