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Japan's Panel on Prenatal Testing

An expert panel in Japan calls on the health ministry, academic societies, and others to form steering committee to develop criteria for non-invasive prenatal genetic testing, the Japan Times reports.

It adds that the steering committee — which could be established as early as this summer at the Japanese Association of Medical Sciences — should include representatives from the health ministry, the Japan Society of Obstetrics and Gynecology, the Japan Pediatric Society, patient groups, and ethicists. The Japan Times notes that JSOG currently oversees testing criteria, but that the health ministry's expert panel is seeking a broader view.

The panel has further tasked the steering committee with certifying testing facilities and clinics that are able to provide advice on and carry out prenatal genetic testing, it reports.

The Japan Times notes that after prenatal genetic testing began there in 2013, JSOG certified large medical centers with full-time ­­­specialists for testing, but that a number of unauthorized testing facilities emerged with inadequate counseling.