Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics


Response of Buddhism and Shintō to the Issue of Brain Death and Organ Transplant

Helen Hardacrea1

a1 Reischauer Institute Professor of Japanese Religions and Society, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts

Japan has no law recognizing the condition of brain death as the standard for determining that an individual has died. Instead, it is customary medical practice to declare a person dead when three conditions have been met: cessation of heart beat, cessation of respiration, and opening of the pupils. Of the developed nations, only Japan and Israel do not recognize brain death as the death of the human person.