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Japan to permit antidote injections by rescue workers in cases of bioterrorism

JIJI

The health ministry said Thursday that antidote auto-injections by non-medical professionals, such as rescue workers, will be permitted should toxic agents be dispersed in a terrorist attack.

The move is designed to prepare for any chemical terrorist attack in the run-up to next year’s Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics.

Normally, antidote injections by people other than doctors or nurses would be a violation of the medical practitioners law. But the ministry said that if a chemical attack occurs, early antidote injections are necessary for the treatment of victims.

“It is necessary to permit the use of auto-injectors by those other than doctors,” the ministry said, citing as an example workers transporting victims to hospital in contaminated “hot zone” areas, such as firefighters, police officers and Self-Defense Forces personnel.

These workers will be allowed to administer antidotes to injured adults if doctors are absent, there are too many injured people for doctors to handle, or three or more people are injured in an apparent chemical attack, the ministry said.

The ministry will notify the Fire and Disaster Management Agency, the National Police Agency, the Defense Ministry and the Japan Coast Guard of its decision.

Training on antidote injections will be provided to officials starting as soon as early next year.