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Lancet. 1987 Mar 21;1(1834):676-7.

Japan's search for international guidelines on rights of mental patients.



The World Health Organization (1968) and the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) (1968) have studied human rights abuses in Japan's mental health system and recommended reform. The Japanese recently have become more responsive to foreign pressures, and have begun to examine international guidelines on mental patients' rights. A forum held in Kyoto in January 1987 was intended to define such guidelines, but agreement on standards proved elusive, with some participants objecting to many aspects of current mental health practice. Harding, co-author of an ICJ report on the rights of Japan's mental patients, concludes that seeking international agreement on norms for involuntary hospitalization is unrealistic. However, judicial involvement on behalf of mental patients deprived of liberty appears to be universally accepted. Harding's article concludes with five basic principles concerning the protection of the mentally ill that were approved by participants in the Kyoto forum.

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