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Unlike giving blood, becoming an organ donor easy

by Ashley Thompson

Bob is wondering if the blood donation rules, which we covered in “Less-than-fluent foreigners may have trouble giving blood” (April 3), also apply to organ donors.

“I am carrying, and have for years, a donor card to donate my organs in case of my death here in Japan. But, am I allowed to donate organs under the same circumstances as shown for blood donation? But then, how would they know, as I would be dead?”

While you must meet various requirements to be eligible to donate blood in Japan, organ donation involves nothing more than simply expressing the desire to do so in case of death. You don’t need to provide a medical history or take any tests, according to Yoko Iba of the Japan Organ Transplant Network (JOTN). That said, all donors’ organs are examined after death to determine if they can be used.

For anyone who might be interested in becoming an organ donor, you can do so in several ways. The first is to fill out the back of a donor card, or ishihyōji kādo, and carry it with you. You can pick up a card at city hall or a ward office, convenience stores and post offices, among other locations.

You can also express your intent to donate on the back of your driver’s license, if you have one, or insurance card. And if you can read Japanese, you can register online (a donor card will be sent to you) here: www2.jotnw.or.jp.

For more information about organ donation in Japan, including specific locations that have donor cards, see JOTN’s website (www.jotnw.or.jp/, in Japanese) or their English site (limited information, at www.jotnw.or.jp/english/index.html) You can also find an English translation of the back of the donor’s card on the English site.

Moly, a permanent resident, needs to renew her resident card but doesn’t have a Japanese address:

“My Japanese ex-husband and I divorced five years ago. My re-entry permit is valid. My daughter and I returned to my home country following the divorce, but if I need to renew my alien card and I don’t have an address in Japan, what will happen or can be done? Do I simply give my address in my home country?”

According to Immigration, you must use a Japanese address when renewing your resident card. However, if you don’t have a long-term residence in Japan, you could use a friend’s address or that of one of your former relatives, if you’re on good terms with any of them and with their permission. Basically, you just need to use an address of the place you would stay in Japan when you’re here, if possible.

Otherwise, immigration officials didn’t say that they would revoke your visa on the spot, but emphasized it would be best if you speak with them directly about your situation.

Ashley Thompson writes unique how-tos about living in Japan at www.survivingnjapan.com. Send all your questions to lifelines@japantimes.co.jp .