Japan to launch survey of people who received organ transplants abroad

Japan's health ministry will launch a survey of people who received organ transplants abroad. The move follows the arrest of a man who allegedly brokered overseas transplants without government permission.

Health ministry officials told a panel meeting on Monday that a research team consisting of doctors and others will be formed in the new fiscal year that starts in April.

The team will send questionnaires to about 200 medical institutions in Japan that offer postoperative care to recipients of organ transplants.

People who receive organ transplants abroad need to visit such hospitals as they must remain on immuno-suppressant drugs and have their health condition monitored.

The medical institutions will be asked to specify the number of patients they're monitoring, where they received transplants, whether the donors were alive or deceased, and their postoperative condition.

The survey is scheduled to take place between early April and mid-June, and the results will be released as early as this year.

The man accused of brokering organ transplants served as director of a nonprofit organization that supports patients with serious diseases. He was arrested last month on suspicion of arranging a liver transplant in Belarus.

Health ministry officials say they currently have no information on the number of people who received transplants abroad. They say they'll consider their next moves after studying the results of the survey.