YOKOHAMA — The 12th World Congress of Psychiatry (WCP) ended Thursday at the Pacifico Yokohama convention center with a declaration calling on countries to provide the best possible treatment for those with mental illnesses.

The World Psychiatric Association, which organized the congress, also confirmed that it will send a team of experts to China in spring to investigate claims that the government is confining political dissidents, including members of the Falun Gong sect, in mental hospitals.

To achieve the goals set by the Yokohama Declaration, officials of the Japanese Society of Psychiatry and Neurology said they plan to form a special task force to improve psychiatry in Japan.

Japan is said to lag behind other developed nations in helping the mentally ill lead normal lives outside of institutions, the officials acknowledged.

The six-day conference, the first of its kind held in Asia, attracted more than 6,200 psychiatrists, social workers, and patients and their families. Some 3,300 foreigners from 111 countries were also present, the organizer said.

The congress featured about 2,000 lectures on the latest achievements in psychiatry as well as other events.

The next WCP will be held in Cairo in September 2005.

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