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Med Sci Law. 2012 Apr;52(2):96-9. doi: 10.1258/msl.2011.011056. Epub 2012 Jan 30.

Locational characteristics of the increasing number of forensic autopsy cases in Kyoto, Japan.

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Department of Forensic Medicine, Kyoto Prefectural University of Medicine, Kyoto, Japan.


In Japan, the definition of unnatural death is not prescribed in law. However, a legal judgment recently defined unnatural death as all deaths, excluding natural deaths and deaths from diseases. Legally, unnatural deaths must be reported to the police. In the case of a reported death being considered as suspicious by the police, a forensic autopsy is required. The number of autopsies and the autopsy rate in Japan and Kyoto has increased over the last 10 years. Using data collected from 221 autopsy cases between 2008 and 2010 in Kyoto, Japan, the characteristics of locations where autopsy cases were discovered were analysed to identify reasons for the increase in autopsy numbers. It was found that factors including amount of human interaction and socioeconomic factors may help to explain the statistically significant correlations found.

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