The Center for Interdisciplinary Studies of Law and Policy


Healthcare and Law

Background of Research

Advances in medical technology have greatly influenced our lives. The Conference for the Promotion of Integrated Innovation Strategy has in its “Bio Strategy 2019” indicated that “In order for society to understand and accept new technology and for researchers to earn the trust of society as they conduct their work, Ethical, Legal and Social Issues (ELSI) must be tackled through comprehensive debates conducted by both specialists and civilian participants”. Following that, the spread of COVID-19 highlighted the importance of the application of scientific technology to healthcare and the necessity of the corresponding legal framework, resulting in a heightened need for the organizing of political engagement between both experts and civilian participants. At this research unit we investigate these issues from both legal and political perspectives and aim to precipitate a both national and global paradigm shift towards a knowledge-based society.

Details of Research

Healthcare and Law Project Image

At this unit we have set out two interrelated core themes to guide our research. These are (1) Medical Information Law and (2) Life, Medical Ethics and Law. In addition, we intend to introduce a third core theme, that of (3) Social Insurance Centric Healthcare Systems, to our remit for research.

(1) In the field of Medical Information Law, alongside the Graduate School of Medical Research Center for Digital Transformation of Healthcare (Unit Leader Yamada is attached to this center also) we at this unit collaborate with practitioners in both the legal and medical fields in order to further our research into the problems surrounding the use of medical information such as analyzing the ethics of the current system, real world applications and designs for future systems. In this field AI continues to be an increasingly large issue and thus we in collaboration with the AI and Law Unit are expanding our focus to include the problem of Civil Liability.

(2) With regard to the field of Life, Medical Ethics and Law, the unit relies on collaboration also, this time with the Graduate School of Medicine Human Health Science Department and the Graduate School of Letters Center for Applied Philosophy & Ethics, to build upon research in this traditional field of medical law from such modern perspectives as the concept of care.

(3) In relation to the theoretical underpinnings of Healthcare Systems, with the support of the Graduate School of Medicine School of Public Health, this unit whilst touching on insights from the worlds of epidemiology and economics, aims to contribute to the reform of the social insurance system, which has come under increased pressure due to declining birthrates and the aging of societies, as well as make proposals concerning decision made under emergency circumstances to remedy issues that were made apparent by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Introduction to the Unit Leader

Unit Leader Satoshi Yamada (Professor at the Kyoto University Graduate School of Law Center for Interdisciplinary Studies of Law and Policy)

Double Appointment as a professor at the Kyoto University Center for the Digital Transformation of Healthcare. Hitherto has specialized in research of constitutional law, including such areas as the conceptualization of public law in the era of globalization and the protection of the right to information privacy. In relation to this unit, centering on the use of medical information with reference to global frameworks he has begun to investigate the nature of related regulation. His related works include: The Constitution in the Era of Globalization (KOUBUNDOU Publishers Inc. 2017), Preventing Virus Transmission and Protecting Privacy – How to govern the use of Information and Communications Technology when employed for the purpose of Preventing Virus Transmission, in K. Obayashi ed., The Constitution under COVID-19 Crisis (KOUBUNDOU Publishers Inc. 212-222, 2021), Global Measures for Pandemic Control: On Their Possibilities and Limitations (Public Law Review vol. 84, 2023) among others.