About Us

Message from the President:

I became the President of the Japanese Association of Medical Law (JAML) as the successor to Professor Katsunori Kai in January 2016. JAML was founded in December 1969, with a purpose to promote and contribute to secure, wholesome, and cultured living for people through research on laws pertaining to health affairs. JAML has published the academic journal The Journal of Medical Law since 1986. Healthcare has a close relationship with life and body that is most valuable for people, especially those who need medical treatment who are exposed to danger for some reason such as illness, injury, and so forth. It is well recognized that many legal subjects are included in healthcare. There are many acts and laws in connection with healthcare in Japan. It is JAML’s mission to examine these laws from both the legal and medical standpoints, and to use the academic results to promote the people’s welfare.

In the long history of jurisprudence, medical law is a very young field. This is not a specific phenomenon for Japan, but globally; medical law came to be regarded as an independent field of law after the 1970s. Many commentators point out the cause of the development of medical law being the rapid progress of medicine, changes in doctor–patient relationship, and so forth. Along with the changing situation that surrounds healthcare, people began to expect laws, one of the strongest social norms, to play an important role in society. However, opinion is divided as to how law should correspond to healthcare problems, and some commentators are critical of whether medical law is really an independent field of law, separate from civil law or criminal law.

The subjects that JAML has discussed in the past are varied. The legal problem of medical accidents is one of the important topics for medical law, but subjects such as doctor–patient relationship, medical records and documents, the structure of the healthcare system, terminal care, death with dignity, brain death, organ transplantation, psychiatric care, medicine, the medical basic act, regeneration medicine, and so forth, are also significant topics. The legal subjects involved in healthcare are numerous and vast, and they will surely continue to increase in the future. This is a common tendency for medical law across the world. In addition, as the subjects of medical law often contain both a global aspect and a local aspect, the international view is indispensable in conducting research.

Researchers, medical practitioners, legal practitioners, and those in other fields participate in JAML, and the total number of participants is over 400. However, due to the importance of medical law today, it is preferable to increase the number of people who join JAML and to draw interest from our society. Based on the accumulation of contributions from our predecessors, through research on medical law, we would like to further contribute to the wholesome development of society. I sincerely ask for your cooperation.

Yutaka Tejima,President