Accolades for our Documentary Film

Japan ME Association was honoured to receive words of recommendation for our documentary film, “Hope to these Hands: The Reality of ME/CFS,” from Japan Medical Association and World Medical Association President Dr. Yoshitaka Yokokura on December 17. We would like to share his kind words (translated from Japanese):

“Congratulations to Director Seiji Arihara and Japan ME Association for the completion of the film ‘Hope to these Hands: The Reality of ME/CFS.’ This work carefully encompasses not only the symptoms of this disease, but other dimensions of the reality of the illness surrounding the patients, such as the inability of patients to obtain Disability Certificates and the activities of the patient association, including from the voices of the patients themselves. It is a film that should be seen not only by medical professionals, but by the general public. There are indications of hope for patients in the recent efforts of researchers around the world to develop treatments. It is my hope that by having as many people as possible view the film, a deeper understanding of the illness and advances within Japan concerning the development of diagnostic criteria and the drafting of guidelines will result. The Japan Medical Association, in our capacity, would like to continue to assist in these efforts.”

On December 13, we also received the following generous words from the Japan Council on Disability (JD) president  Katsunori Fujii (translated from Japanese):

“One wonders why, while patients [at large] experience similar suffering to live, there are such differences in the way government administration treats them. Through images and the voices of patients, the film conveys the reality and practical difficulties of the patients’ situations from a perspective that is both human and objectively critical. We encourage as many people as possible to see this film, and to host voluntary screenings of the film.”

Finally, Japanese Society of Neurology President Dr. Ryosuke Takahashi (Professor, Kyoto University School of Medicine) appears in the film and has also expressed his recommendation of the film.

Meeting with the Japan Medical Association

On September 16, 2015, JMEA board members met with Dr. Yoshitake Yokokura, President of Japan Medical Association, at the Japan Medical Association Hall in Tokyo. Former JMEA Vice President Miwako Hosoda introduced us to Dr. Yokokura and attended the meeting with us.

JMEA requested Dr. Yokokura’s support to spread accurate information about ME/CFS among Japan Medical Association members, citing the seriousness of the disease and the large number of severely ill patients in Japan. We provided an information package about ME to him which included recent research papers from Japan and overseas showing ME/CFS to be a serious organic disease, the 2014 Ministry of Health Patient Survey report, our six informational leaflets, and a DVD of the documentary film Voices from the Shadows. When we raised the benefits observed in Waon therapy in relieving ME/CFS symptoms, Dr. Yokokura was already aware that the therapy is used to treat severe heart disease patients.

We discussed JMEA’s participation in the Japan Federation of Bar Associations’ July seminar concerning diseases mired in the “gap in the system” of Japanese disability law. When we brought up our pending petition to the Japanese Diet regarding public assistance for ME patients, Dr. Yokokura mentioned that there were 21 Japan Medical Association members who were Diet members and that they may be able to support our petition. He carefully listened to our discussion points and encouraged us in our continued efforts on behalf of patients.

We were very grateful to Dr. Yokokura for meeting with us. We hope more Japanese doctors will become educated about ME and available to see ME patients in their practices.