February 10, 2023
TOKYO – The Metropolitan Police Department seized a document with the names of 150 patients from the Intractable Disease Patient Support Association as part of an investigation into alleged unauthorized arrangements of organ transplants by the Tokyo-based nonprofit organization, according to investigative sources.
The director of the NPO Hiromichi Kikuchi, 62, is suspected of arranging overseas organ transplants without permission from the Health, Labor, and Welfare ministry.
In addition to a Tokyo man in his 40s who received a liver transplant in Minsk allegedly with the assistance of the NPO in February 2022, two other Japanese patients are believed to have undergone surgeries in Belarus last year, according to the sources.
One of the patients was a man in his 50s who received a kidney transplant in July, the other was a man in his 40s who received a kidney and liver transplant in September, the sources said.
Police believe the three patients received organs from deceased donors.
The NPO has allegedly arranged transplants from living donors before, including a kidney transplant from a donor in Kyrgyzstan.
However, the MPD investigation is believed to be focusing on the Belarus transplants because only cases involving organs from deceased donors are covered under regulations on transplant mediation.