From NHK World
February 9 2023
YOKOHAMA – The Tokyo police have arrested the head of a Yokohama-based nonprofit organization on suspicion of arranging organs for transplants without government permission.
Police say Kikuchi Hiromichi, director of an NPO that supports for patients with serious diseases, is suspected of violating the organ transplant law by arranging organs to be used in transplant operations overseas without a government permit.
Investigators say a male patient in Tokyo underwent a liver transplant operation last February in Belarus.
Police say Kikuchi had the patient transfer about 33 million yen, roughly 250 thousand dollars, into the NPO’s account to cover the cost of the transplant.
Sources told NHK that as the effective head of the NPO, Kikuchi provided consultations for patients in Japan who wanted to undergo transplant operations abroad in countries such as Belarus, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan.
They say one patient’s condition reportedly rapidly deteriorated after undergoing a transplant.
Earlier this month, Kikuchi told NHK he brokered connections between about 180 patients and hospitals in Kyrgyzstan and five other countries. But he said he “was not involved in the selection of donors and did not recognize he was arranging donors.”
Police say Kikuchi denies some of the allegations. He admitted that he arranged organs for a man who wanted to receive a transplant, but he thought he didn’t need to obtain permission for surgery overseas.
Sources say this is the first time for a person to be arrested in Japan on suspicion of brokering organ transplants overseas without permission.
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