I was very happy to be invited to the 2022 conference of the Japan Association for Bioethics (JAB) as a member of the International Association for Bioethics (IAB). The JAB-IAB Fellowship covered all my conference-related travel and lodging expenses.

During the advent of my travels to Japan, there were quite some planning uncertainties due to the still unstable corona situation and covid-related travel restrictions imposed by the Japanese government. Keiichiro Yamamoto was my contact for the JAB-IAB Fellowship, and he informed me about the applying regulations and restrictions and helped me navigate them when making travel arrangements. It was relieved that virtually all restrictions were lifted in the month before the conference.

I chose to combine attending the JAB conference with travel through Japan. This was not only a great experience for me personally, but it also enabled me to visit and see academic contacts that I made during a research stay at the University of Tokyo in 2015. Besides the JAB Conference, I was able to attend philosophical and bioethical academic events in Tokyo and Kyoto which coincided with my stay.

The JAB conference was held on 19-20 November at Kwansei Gakuin University in Hyogo, about 45 minutes travel from Osaka. The campus of the university is beautifully located on a green slope, and the main building at the end of the slope presented a beautiful view against the blue sky and the colorful autumn leaves on the hill behind it. Upon arrival at the conference, I received a warm welcome from members of the JAB international committee.

The conference organizers organized an international session in which Bryanna Moore (ASBH invitee) and I gave presentations around autonomy and vulnerability in healthcare. My presentation was on advance care planning in mental healthcare. I presented recent results from two systematic reviews on service user perspectives which we carried out in the context of our Bochum SALUS project, a large 6-year interdisciplinary research project on the reduction of coercion in mental healthcare. Our presentations were followed by thoughtful and insightful comments from Yicheng Chung (Waseda University) and Hitoshi Arima (Yokohama City University). Yicheng and Hitoshi also raised several thought-provoking questions and there was ample time for discussion. The intercultural exchange was particularly valuable for me, in part because advance care planning in mental healthcare is not yet an established concept in Japan and attitudes toward are different in some respects. After the conference, Bryanna and I traveled back to Osaka together with Keiichiro and Hitoshi, and this created room for more informal exchange.

As for points of improvement, I would suggest finding ways to create more interaction with the auditorium during the international session. Planning an international track throughout the conference would create more opportunities for future international fellows to get information about bioethics and clinical practice in Japan and to exchange thoughts with Japanese bioethicists after sessions and during conference lunches and dinners. I understand that such an international conference track may be hard to realize (it is a Japanese conference, after all), but I think it is nevertheless worth giving it some thought.

Both personally and academically, traveling to Japan and attending the 2022 JAB conference has been a great experience for me!

Matthé Scholten
Institute for Medical Ethics and History of Medicine
Ruhr University Bochum, Germany




Based upon the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between Japan Association for Bioethics (JAB) and International Association of Bioethics (IAB), the JAB-IAB Fellowship Fund, which is paid in full by JAB, invites one of IAB’s members to attend the annual JAB conference for the purpose of enhancing international exchange and collaboration between IAB and JAB members.

2.Intended conference

The 34th annual JAB conference held at Kwansei Gakuin University (Hyogo), 19-2 Nov. 2022. Due to Covid-19 pandemic situation, the conference may be replaced by virtual meetings.

3.Application Requirements and conditions

To be eligible for the JAB-IAB Fellowship Fund, applicants must meet the following requirements and agree in writing to the following conditions.

  • Applicants must be current IAB members in good standing.
  • All IAB members are eligible, but special consideration will be given to those who received their doctorate or professional degree within the past 5 years.
  • Along with the application form, applicants must submit an abstract for the 34th annual JAB conference by the due date (details are in session 7 “Submission and deadline” below).
  • By submitting the application form, applicants agree to maintain IAB membership through the end-date of the JAB conference, present a paper and chair a 2-3 hours session in English at the same JAB conference, and submit a short report (500 words limit) within 30 days of the conference’s ending. (Per the MOU, IAB will verify IAB membership of applicants.)
  • All applicants will be reviewed either solely by the JAB’s existing committee for international collaboration, or jointly by the JAB’s existing committee for international and a selected member of IAB. The Fund will be granted to one applicant only.

4.Amount of JAB-IAB Fellowship Fund and Payment

  • The awardee of the JAB-IAB Fellowship Fund will be paid the amount of 300,000 JPY (approximately 2,600 USD depending on exchange rates). If the JAB conference is replaced by virtual meetings, the JAB conference registration fee will be waived, but no other fund will be paid.
  • The fund will be paid in cash to the awardee following completion of participation at the JAB conference with a signed receipt by the awardee.
  • The fund is designated for purpose of reimburses expenses associated with preparing for and attending the 34th annual JAB conference, including: 1) travel expenses (flight and ground transportation), 2) accommodation and travel expenses in Japan, 3) international travel insurance fee, 4) other necessary expenses related to participation at the intended conference at the approval of JAB’s international committee. Note that the booking of flights and accommodations etc. should be made by the awardee himself/herself.
  • The JAB conference registration fee will be waived.

5.Obligation of Awardee

The awardee of the JAB-IAB Fellowship Fund is obliged to:

  • Present a 20 minutes paper at the 34th annual JAB conference in English.
  • Chair a 2-3 hours session in English at the same JAB conference, including speaker introductions and moderating the session and Q & A, and posing questions for each speaker when necessary.
  • Submit a short report (500-word limit) to the IAB Board of Directors and the JAB Boards of Director within 30 days after the conference’s end. The report should indicate how the experience attending the JAB conference might be useful for the awardee’s future research, teaching, or other professional activities.

6.Selection Policy

Evaluation of applicants will be based on the caliber of the submitted abstract, and its relevance to attendees at a future JAB conference. In addition, high marks will be granted for original and well-reasoned submission.

7.Submission and deadline

  • Applicants must submit the application form including an abstract of 300-500 words.
  • The submission deadline is 23:59 JST Wednesday, June 1st, 2022.
  • All application forms will be reviewed either solely by the committee for international collaboration of JAB, or jointly by the committee for international collaboration of JAB and a selected member of IAB. The review process will be completed within 30 days after the submission deadline. Upon approval of the JAB Board of Directors, the selection committee will directly notify the result to the IAB Board first, and then the applicant. Notification to applicants will occur in writing following IAB Board notification. JAB aims to provide applicant notification within 2 months from the submission deadline.

Answers to applicant questions should be addressed to the Committee for International Collaboration of JAB office: international[at]