On Launching the CBEL Report

Akira Akabayashi
Volume 1 Issue 1 Page 2
First Published: September 28, 2018


The Center for Biomedical Ethics and Law (CBEL) was established in Tokyo in 2003 as the first, full-scale center for bioethics research and education in Asia at the time. Since its foundation, CBEL has placed great emphasis on “interdisciplinarity”—the essence of bioethics. This can also be summed up in our motto, “let’s discuss common topics one at a time in easy-to-understand language for everyone at the table, regardless of the various disciplines,” which is directed toward CBEL staff members with diverse backgrounds.

The source of this motto is the Hastings Center, the world’s first bioethics center established in 1969 in New York, USA, where I had the privilege of participating in discussions as a visiting scholar in 1993. My experience there left me deeply impressed by the beauty of
the way arguments are developed in a mutually understandable language among researchers from various fields. Some of you might have already noticed that, indeed, the launch of the CBEL Report, a Japanese-English online journal, has the goal of creating a Japanese version of the Hastings Center Report.

The CBEL Report has several features. First, Japanese researchers previously had little medium other than “Journal of the Japan Association for Bioethics,” the academic journal of the Japan Association for Bioethics, in which they could publish papers on bioethics. When I was the Editor-in-Chief of the journal, I had to reject many papers I thought had great potential, albeit premature, due to limited space (i.e., the journal was issued only once a year). The CBEL Report will actively publish such papers. Second, we set up two frames for Regular Articles and Invited Articles. While Regular Articles will be subject to a normal peer review process, we will take bold risks to publish Invited Articles at the Editor’s discretion. We would like to actively publish manuscripts that are groundbreaking, challenging, and full of potential. Third, we also created a frame for Translated Articles. This is to bilaterally publish articles that are written in other languages and translated into Japanese, as well as Japanese articles translated into English. Despite the accumulation of many discussions in Japan, as it stands, they are not being disseminated to the world. It is my hope that researchers overseas will make more inquiries if they have manuscripts they wish to have the Japanese audience read. Furthermore, I expect this journal will provide an opportunity for researchers worldwide to increase their interest in Japan and promote global exchange and international collaboration. I personally hope that, by disseminating from Japan to the world, we will contribute to the global development of bioethics research, even if a little.

The quality of the Journal could not be improved without the help of contributors. I expect many submissions from researchers both in Japan and abroad who support the intent of launch of this journal.

August, 2018
Akira Akabayashi
Center for Biomedical Ethics and Law