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Japan Lawmakers Ban Human Cloning

November 30, 2000

TOKYO (AP) _ Japan’s parliament passed a measure Thursday making the cloning of humans a crime, punishable by up to 10 years in prison or a fine of $90,000.

The law, which prohibits creating human embryos by inserting somatic cells into an unfertilized egg, is the first in Japan that penalizes a specific kind of research, a parliament spokesman said.

The legislation, which also calls on the government to draft regulations governing cloning technology, passed the upper house by a vote of 229-11. It passed the more powerful lower house earlier in November.

The spokesman said the law also bans mixing human and animal cells to create hybrid embryos and forbids implanting hybrid embryos into human or animal mothers.

The law must be promulgated to take effect, but it was unclear when that might occur.

Legislation or guidelines to ban human cloning are now pending in dozens of nations. Several countries, including Britain, Israel and Germany, already have banned it. In many others no laws specifically ban the practice, but ethical guidelines would appear to prohibit it.

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