Prosecutors on Monday indicted the head of a nonprofit organization for allegedly mediating organ transplants overseas without government approval.
Hiromichi Kikuchi, director of the Association for Patients of Intractable Diseases, is suspected of facilitating transplants for two recipients in Belarus, collecting from them a total of 51.5 million yen ($390,000), according to the indictment.
Kikuchi, 62, helped a kidney disease sufferer receive a kidney transplant in July 2022 from a deceased donor, and had 18.5 million yen in service fees transferred to the NPO's bank account, the indictment said.
Additionally, Kikuchi received 33 million yen from a cirrhosis patient who also had a liver transplant facilitated in the Eastern European country between January and February 2022.
Investigative sources said the cirrhosis sufferer's condition worsened after the surgery and the person died in November of that year.
Along with Kikuchi, the NPO was also indicted in alleged violation of the organ transplant law.
Kikuchi was arrested last month in the first such case in Japan of suspected mediation of an unsanctioned organ transplant overseas.
Japan has one of the lowest rates of organ donation among industrialized countries, according to the Nippon Foundation, which supports the Japan Organ Transplant Network.
In fiscal 2016, there were just 103 organs registered as available for transplant in Japan. As of June 2017, about 13,450 people were waiting to receive a heart, liver, kidney, or other organ, the foundation said.
Japan NPO head arrested for unauthorized organ transplant mediation