The head of a Japanese nonprofit organization was sentenced Tuesday to eight months in jail for mediating overseas organ transplants for Japan residents without government approval.

The Tokyo District Court ruled that Hiromichi Kikuchi, director of the Association for Patients of Intractable Diseases, had violated the organ transplant law by facilitating transplants for two recipients in Belarus, collecting a total of 51.5 million yen from them.

File photo taken Feb. 9, 2023, shows a confiscated brochure by the Association for Patients of Intractable Diseases on organ transplants performed overseas. (Kyodo)

The court also slapped the Tokyo-based association with a fine of 1 million yen ($6,744) over the case.

Kikuchi's defense had sought an acquittal, arguing the law only applies to domestic transplants. The 63-year-old was arrested in February in what was the first Japanese police action over the unsanctioned mediation of an organ transplant overseas.

According to the indictment, Kikuchi recommended that a kidney disease sufferer receive a kidney transplant in Belarus and made the patient transfer a total of 18.5 million yen before undergoing surgery in July 2022.

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.

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