How to become an organ donor in Japan


In my July 19 column in The Japan Times, I wrote about the low rate of organ donation in Japan, and explained how to become an organ donor. The easiest way is to download the English-language version of the organ donation decision card which looks like this:


You can also download a brochure in English that is helpful in making a decision and filling out the card. Basically, if you circle “1”, you are consenting to nōshigo zōki teikyō 脳死後臓器提供 (organ donation following brain death) as well as shinteigo zōki teikyō 心止後臓器提供 (donating after cardiac death). Circling “2” indicates you consent only to donation after cardiac death, and if you circle “3,” it means you do not wish to donate
at all.

The Japanese version of the card, which is called a zōki teikyō ishi hyōji kādo 臓器提供意思表示カード looks like this:


It’s possible to register one’s intentions online but only in Japanese. The process is a bit onerous but it’s the best option for people who don’t want to donate because potential donations are always checked against this national register. As of June 2014, 124,731 people have registered; of those, about 7,500 people, or about 6 percent, do not wish to donate organs.

Japan has adopted the “green ribbon” as a symbol for organ donation. Some 30,000 taxis in Tokyo are supporting the drive for organ donation by carrying the “green ribbon” decals for free. Normally, it costs 1,000 yen/per month/per car to advertise on a Tokyo taxi. (How about that for an interesting statistic?)


For more information on organ donation in Japan, visit the Japan Organ Transplant Network’s English webpage.

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1 Response to How to become an organ donor in Japan

  1. knaturalbuilder says:

    Love the new banner photo! And thank you for the info. I have had a card in my wallet since I found out about it… how many years ago?… But it is so wonderful to help spread the news!

    Also, you can register to be a marrow donor if you go to a blood donation room. “Nihon Kotsuzui bannku.” You can get information online at
    According to the latest newsletter, there are 445,854 registered donors, and there have been 16,942 marrow transplants.
    Be aware, bone marrow donations have some risk and pain involved. Please do your research before signing up.
    Thank you Alice for bringing up this topic!

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