Abortion clinic chief faces charges

Kyodo

Police said Wednesday they will build a case against the director of a defunct Yokohama clinic that disposed of aborted fetuses in normal garbage, having been notified by the Environment Ministry that fetuses under 12 weeks old are considered infectious waste and require special disposal treatment.

Police asked the ministry for its opinion, as there is no law that stipulates the handling of fetuses aborted at less than 12 weeks.

“By law, such fetuses are to be considered infectious waste to be disposed of by waste professionals. However, in principle they should be buried with respect, in the same way as fetuses of 12 weeks or more,” a ministry official was quoted as telling investigators.

The waste disposal law stipulates that blood and organs are considered infectious waste and records of their disposal must be kept. However, the law does not refer specifically to fetuses.

The burial law requires that fetuses aborted at 12 weeks or older be cremated or buried.

Police said they plan to build a case against Keido Harada, head of Isezaki Clinic, on allegations that he violated the waste disposal law. The clinic closed down last month.