National / Science & Health

Japanese enthusiasm for organ donation hovers at 40% in latest government survey


About 40 percent of the public is positive about organ donation when it comes to brain death or death by cardiac arrest, a government survey showed Saturday.

But the ratio of those who indicate their organ donation preference on their driver’s license or other identification remained low at just over 10 percent, the survey by the Cabinet Office showed.

The figures were almost unchanged from the previous survey in 2013.

“It’s important to make more people know how to indicate their intentions regarding organ donations,” said an official of the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry. “We also want people to have opportunities to talk about the matter with family members,” the official added.

The survey was conducted between Aug. 24 and Sept. 3 on 3,000 people aged 18 and over. Of them, 1,911 gave valid answers.

Of the respondents, 19.7 percent were willing to donate their organs and 22.1 percent said they were somewhat willing to do so. The combined rate among respondents aged 18 to 29 came to about 70 percent.

Meanwhile, only 12.7 percent were found to have made clear whether they hope to donate organs.

On reasons for not expressing their intentions, with multiple answers allowed, the ratio of respondents who said they “cannot make a decision” or “planned to write later” was the largest, followed by those who have “a sense of hesitation” about organ donation, those who are “not interested,” those who “do not know well” about how to show their intention, and those who “want to leave the decision up to family members,” the survey said.

As for donating family members’ organs, nearly 90 percent of the respondents said they will respect the stance their relatives took on the issue before death. If that is not known, nearly 40 percent said they would agree to donate family members’ organs and about 50 percent said they wouldn’t.

Those figures were nearly unchanged from the 2013 survey as well.