On ethical, legal, and social issues of emerging life sciences, it is important to comply with codes of conduct fitted in the recent socio-technical context reflecting Japanese experiences, develop procedures for the research and innovation governance, and promote public engagement for opening up future possibilities. It is also necessary in the governance to provide new brokers and processes by which ambiguous and uncertain evidence can serve for informed policymaking.
Japanese bioethical principles
- Respect relational diversity
Be aware and respectful of the notion that individuals are formed in continuous and diverse relations to their families, friends, communities, various experts and stakeholders, others species, architects, ecosystems, and the past and future generations.
- Care for others
Take individual and respectful decisions by weighing one’s own benefits against those of others, whilst taking care of others such as the marginalised contemporary and future generations.
- Accept vulnerability of life, relation, and recognition
Accept all supposed lives; the relation between self and others; and the recognition of self, others, life, and future as uncertain, ambiguous, unstable, and limited; and examine their adaptive management while anticipating the future.
- Assure publicness of the process
Establish institutions in which wider public, who remain at arm’s length from any stake and expertise, can continuously monitor and advise the process of societal decision-making and policymaking on bioethics.
- Stimulate spontaneous engagement
Construct instruments by which the general public, including the less engaged, can spontaneously increase interest in, understanding of, and engagement with the ethical, legal, and social issues in emerging life sciences and future societies.
- Encourage the substantive use of arts and design
Utilise arts and design as a medium to tap into future possibilities and facilitate continued dialogue and discussion among the wider public, stakeholders, and experts, and not simply for intense debate and public outreach.
- Raise awareness of place and mobility
Pay attention to the design of local places and living spaces where people can interact and engage in discussions, and enable the mobility of their cognitions and behaviours.
Evidence for policy
- Recognise ambiguity and uncertainty of evidence
Recognise one’s equivocal attitude to emerging life sciences because of ambiguous views on responsibility, ethics, and future, and consider the forecasting of scientific development and its social impacts as uncertain.
- Include marginalised narrators/narratives
Include narratives of marginalised minorities based on their tacit knowledge and experience, without placing disproportionate emphasis on standardising quantitative data or summarising mass opinions.
- Develop interaction and co-creation processes
Develop individual and organisational learning, communication, and network processes to connect evidence to policy by facilitating interaction and co-creation with policymakers.
Go Yoshizawa and Jusaku Minari,
with advice from Nariyoshi Shinomiya and Satoshi Kodama