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.

Participation in the Japanese Society of Neurology Conference

Japan ME Association participated in the 56th Annual Meeting of the Japanese Society of Neurology at the Niigata Convention Center, where we hosted a patient organization booth featuring information about ME. Our objective was to bring ME, which has been classified as a neurological disorder since by the World Health Organisation (WHO), to the attention of neurologists in Japan.

Our booth featured a 10-minute video about ME featuring clinical findings from brain images of ME patients. We also distributed summaries of the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare’s 2014 patient survey, relevant research papers from Stanford University Medicine’s ME/CFS initiative, and JMEA’s information pamphlets on ME. We discussed the disease with the many neurologists and physiotherapists who came to the booth.

The annual conference will be held in Kobe next year. We hope to continue to attract further interest in ME among neurologists in Japan.