National

Tokyo clinic kept fetuses from abortions in freezer

A maternity clinic in Tokyo has stored aborted fetuses in its freezer, according to Tokyo Metropolitan Government officials who have inspected the clinic.

The officials said the clinic’s handling of aborted fetuses violates the Medical Service Law and they plan to issue an order to correct the situation.

The metropolitan government inspected the clinic Aug. 5 after some employees informed the government that aborted fetuses may have been disposed of in the garbage, a charge the clinic’s director categorically denies.

In an interview with Kyodo News, the clinic director said, “I can state with confidence that such a thing has never happened in our clinic.”

The director, however, acknowledged that the clinic has been storing aborted fetuses in its freezer.

“We call a specialized waste disposer when we have a certain number of fetuses, about once a year. Until then, we store the fetuses in a freezer to avoid the odor, especially during the summer,” the director said.

During their inspection, the officials found that the clinic wrapped aborted fetuses and their placentas in newspapers and stored them in a freezer inside an operating room in violation of Article 20 of the Medical Service Law.

The officials said they also found that those involved in the abortion procedures brought home patients’ medical records without their permission in violation of Article 15 of the same law regulating the supervisory responsibility of clinic operators.

The officials said the clinic has called the specialized waste disposer to collect aborted fetuses and other infectious waste four times since the clinic opened in April 2002.

The officials are now investigating how the waste disposer has handled the waste from the clinic.

In a related case, the Kanagawa Prefectural Police searched a Yokohama-based maternity clinic, Isezaki Clinic, in July on suspicion of disposing a dismembered, aborted fetus in the garbage.

The director of Isezaki Clinic later admitted to disposing of the fetus in violation of the waste disposal law and closed the clinic.

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