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February 23, 1963

JAPAN

JAMA. 1963;183(8):713. doi:10.1001/jama.1963.03700080121032

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Abstract

Mercy Killing.  —A son had killed his incurably ill father in order to put an end to his suffering. The son stood trial and was convicted. He appealed the case, but the decision of the lower court was sustained by the presiding judge in the City of Nagoya. The defendant had pleaded mercy killing, and his attorney produced the physician who had attended the father as a witness. He testified that the patient had been sick with gastric cancer and that, at the time of the killing, the end was in sight. The presiding judge interpreted the law as stipulating that six conditions must be fulfilled to make mercy killing legal in Japan: (1) The patient must be incurable and close to death; (2) the pains and sufferings must be unbearable; (3) the relief of pain must be the sole object of the act; (4) the patient must, of his

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