Skip to main content

Looking for Neuroethics in Japan

Abstract

Neuroethics is a dynamic and still rather young interdisciplinary field involving neuroscience, philosophy, or bioethics, among other academic specialties. It is under a process of institutionalization on a global scale, although not at the same pace in every country. Much literature has been devoted to the discussion of the purpose and relevance of neuroethics as a field, but few attempts have been made to analyze its local conditions of development. This paper describes the advancement of neuroethics in Japan as a case study on the ups and downs of the institutionalization of a new academic field. As one of the peculiarities of neuroethics is the diversity of its constituent subject areas, which range from ethics of neuroscience to neuroscience of ethics, the analysis relies on a framework delineating its different aspects. The discussion of the Japanese case study is embedded in several interpretations of the significance of the field proposed by various actors, proponents, or detractors of neuroethics. The history of neuroethics in Japan can be read as a contribution to meta-neuroethics by those interested in definitions of neuroethics, and as a study in science policy by those interested in the Japanese system of research.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

References

  1. Conrad, E., and R. De Vries. 2011. Field of dreams: a social history of neuroethics. Advances in Medical Sociology 13: 299–324.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  2. Lombera, S., and J. Illes. 2009. The international dimensions of neuroethics. Der Welt Bioethik 9 (2): 57–64.

    Google Scholar 

  3. Leefman, J., C. Levallois, and E. Hildt. 2016. Neuroethics 1995-2012, a bibliometric analysis of the guiding themes of an emerging research field. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience 10: 336.

    Google Scholar 

  4. Marcus, S., ed. 2002. Neuroethics: mapping the field. San Francisco: Dana Foundation.

    Google Scholar 

  5. Buniak, L., M. Darragh, and J. Giordano. 2014. A four-part working bibliography of neuroethics: part 1: overview and reviews – defining and describing the field and its practices. Philosophy, Ethics and Humanities in Medicine 9: 9.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  6. Illes, J. 2006. Neuroethics, defining the issues in theory, practice and policy. New York: Oxford University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  7. Levy, N. 2007. Neuroethics, challenges for the 21st century. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

    Book  Google Scholar 

  8. Farah, M., ed. 2010. Neuroethics, an introduction with readings. Cambridge: MIT Press.

    Google Scholar 

  9. Racine, E. 2010. Pragmatic neuroethics, improving treatment and understanding of the mind-brain. Cambridge: MIT Press.

    Google Scholar 

  10. Roskies, A. 2002. Neuroethics for the new millenium. Neuron 35 (1): 21–23.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  11. Greene, J. 2013. Moral tribes: emotion, reason, and the gap between us and them. New York: Penguin Press.

    Google Scholar 

  12. Illes, J., and S. Bird. 2006. Neuroethics: a modern context for ethics in neuroscience. Trends in Neurosciences 29 (9): 511–517.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  13. Giordano, J., and B. Gordijn. 2010. Scientific and philosophical perspectives in Neuroethics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

    Book  Google Scholar 

  14. International Council for Science. 2005. Science and society: rights and responsibility. Paris: ICSU (available at http://cscs.res.in/dataarchive/textfiles/textfile.2010-08-26.2070592599/file)

  15. Brosnan, C. 2011. The sociology of neuroethics: expectational discourses and the rise of a new discipline. Sociology Compass 5 (4): 287–297.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  16. International Neuroethics Society. http://www.neuroethicssociety.org/about-us. Accessed Feb 2017.

  17. Abi-Rached, J., and N. Rose. 2013. Neuro: the new brain sciences and the management of the mind. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  18. Low, M., S. Nakayama, and H. Yoshioka. 1999. Science, technology and society in contemporary Japan. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  19. MEXT. 2006. White paper on science and technology. Tokyo: Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology of the Japanese Government (available at http://www.mext.go.jp/en/publication/whitepaper/title03/detail03/1372834.htm).

  20. Okano, H., and P. Mitra. 2015. Brain mapping projects using the common marmoset. Neuroscience Research 93: 3–7.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  21. Knox, R. 2016. Mind, brain, and education: a transdisciplinary field. Mind, Brain, and Education 10 (1): 4–9.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  22. OECD (Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development). 2002. Understanding the brain—towards a new learning science. Paris: OECD Publishing.

    Google Scholar 

  23. OECD (Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development). 2007. Understanding the brain: the birth of new learning science. Paris: OECD Publishing.

    Google Scholar 

  24. Battro, A., K. Fischer, and P. Léna, eds. 2008. The educated brain, essays in neuroeducation. Cambridge: Pontifical Academy of Sciences and Cambridge University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  25. Stockwin, A. 2008. Governing Japan: divided politics in a resurgent economy. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell.

    Google Scholar 

  26. European Commission. 2007. Taking European knowledge society seriously. Brussels: Directorate-General for Research (available at https://publications.europa.eu/en/publication-detail/-/publication/5d0e77c7-2948-4ef5-aec7-bd18efe3c442)

  27. Collins, H., and R. Evans. 2002. The third wave of science studies: studies of expertise and experience. Social Studies of Science 32 (2): 235–296.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  28. European Commission. 2006. Meeting of minds-European’s citizens assessment report. Brussels: Meeting of Minds Partner Consortium (available at https://www.dialogbasis.de/fileadmin/content_images/Home/eur_cit_assessme_report_complete_results.pdf)

  29. Arimoto, T. 2013. Putting “Science for Society” into Practice-Endeavors of the Research Institute of Science and Technology for Society. https://www.ristex.jp/EN/pdf/121222.pdf. Accessed Feb 2017.

  30. Ristex (Research Institute of Science and Technology for Society). 2017. https://www.ristex.jp/EN/examin/brain/index.html. Accessed Feb 2017.

  31. Koizumi, H. 2012. Brain science and education in Japan. In Neuroscience in education: the good, the bad, and the ugly, ed. L. Anderson and S. Della Salla, 319–332. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  32. NEDO (New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization). 2007. Safety issues in neuroscience and their effects on research activities in the field of life sciences in Japan. International cooperative research/leading survey program, Project 2007–8 of the NEDO, Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry of the Japanese Government.

  33. NEDO (New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization). 2008. Survey for development and safety issues of deep brain stimulation for alzheimer disease. International cooperative research/leading survey program, Project 2008–9 of the NEDO, Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry of the Japanese Government.

  34. Fukushi, T. 2015. Social implementation of neurodegenerative diseaese research and neuroethics. In Neurodegenerative disorders as systemic diseases, ed. K. Wada. Springer Japan: Tokyo.

    Google Scholar 

  35. Fukuyama, H. et al. 2007. Ishiki no Sentanteki noukagaku ga motarasu rinriteki shakaiteki shuukyouteki eikyou no chousakenkyuu. Research report, Kyoto: Kyoto University.

  36. Hara, S., T. Suzuki, M. Sakagami, T. Yokoyama, and Y. Nobuhara. 2010. The advancement of neuroscience literacy through liberal arts education: neuroscience as a post-normal science and its education. Japanese Journal of Science Communication 7: 105–118.

    Google Scholar 

  37. Nobuhara, Y., S. Hara, and M. Yamamoto. 2010. Noushinkeikagaku riterashi. Tokyo: Keisoushobou.

    Google Scholar 

  38. Sakura, O. 2012. A view from the far east: neuroethics in Japan, Taiwan and South Korea. East Asian Science, Technology and Society 6: 297–301.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  39. MEXT. 2015. Hito wo taishou tosuru igakukeikenkyuu ni kansuru rinrishishin gaidansu. Tokyo: Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology of the Japanese Government (available at http://www.mhlw.go.jp/file/06-Seisakujouhou-10600000-Daijinkanboukouseikagakuka/0000166072.pdf).

  40. Iseda, T. 2008. How should we foster the professional integrity of engineers in Japan? A pride-based approach. Science and Engineering Ethics 14: 165–176.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  41. NMDC/BDRC. 2009. Dual-use education in life-science degree courses at universities in Japan. National Defense Medical College (Japan) and Bradford disarmament research Centre (UK).

  42. Koizumi, H. 2015. Ethics-based engineering. Presented at the International Council of Academies of Engineering and Technological Sciences.

  43. Ishihara, K. 2006. Neuroethics in cultural and institutional settings: toward a comparative study. Presented at the The first International workshop on Neuroethics in Japan: Dialog on Brain, Society, and Ethics.

  44. Mizushima, N., and O. Sakura. 2012. A practical approach to identifying ethical and social problems during research and development: a model for a National Research Project of Brain-Machine Interface. East Asian Science, Technology and Society 6: 335–345.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  45. Isobe, T., N. Mizushima, and O. Sakura. 2014. Public participation as a potential counter strategy against unethical optimism. In The future of bioethics: international dialogues, ed. A. Akabayashi, 69–74. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

    Chapter  Google Scholar 

  46. Nisbett, R. 2003. The geography of thought. New York: Free Press.

    Google Scholar 

  47. Nakayama, S. 2009. The orientation of science and technology: a Japanese view. Folkestone: Global Oriental.

    Book  Google Scholar 

  48. Glannon, W. 2006. Bioethics and the brain. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

    Book  Google Scholar 

  49. Saniotis, A. 2009. Neuroethics in Asia. Asian Bioethics Review 1 (2): 152–157.

    Google Scholar 

  50. Li, J., and R. Hayoe. 2012. Confucianism and higher education. In Encyclopedia of diversity in education (Vol. 1), ed. J.A. Banks, 443–446. Thousand Oaks: Sage Publishing.

    Google Scholar 

  51. Hoshino, K. 1997. Japanese and western bioethics: studies in moral diversity. Tokyo: Springer.

    Book  Google Scholar 

  52. Becker, C. 1998. Dilemmas of informed consent. Journal of Health Care, Medicine and Community 14: 13–21.

    Google Scholar 

  53. Akabayashi, A., and B. Slingsby. 2006. Informed consent revisited: Japan and the U.S. The American Journal of Bioethics 6 (1): 9–14.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  54. Braun, D. 1998. The role of funding agencies in the cognitive development of science. Research Policy 27 (8): 807–821.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  55. Lepori, B. 2007. The power of indicators: introduction to special issue on public project funding of research. Science and Public Policy 34 (6): 370–371.

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Acknowledgements

This research was conducted thanks to a postdoctoral fellowship of the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science awarded to Maxence Gaillard and hosted by Osamu Sakura at the Interfaculty Initiative in Information Studies, The University of Tokyo. This article would not have been possible without the time and ideas of the scholars engaging in interviews and sharing documents—they are thanked warmly.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Maxence Gaillard.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Gaillard, M. Looking for Neuroethics in Japan. Neuroethics 11, 67–82 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12152-017-9348-1

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s12152-017-9348-1

Keywords

  • Meta-neuroethics
  • History of neuroethics
  • Japan
  • Science and society