Japan revokes licenses of 89 psychiatrists on suspicion they fraudulently acquired their credentials

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Japan Times
Health ministry revokes licenses of 89 psychiatrists
OCT 26, 2016

The health ministry on Wednesday revoked licenses for 89 mental health doctors on suspicion that they fraudulently acquired their credentials.

Such a large number of mental health practitioners being subjected to scrutiny at one time is unprecedented.

Health minister Yasuhisa Shiozaki took the action against the 89 people following recommendations the same day from a subcommittee of the Medical Ethics Council.

The ministry also rejected four of the five current applicants for mental health doctor designation suspected by the panel as having submitted fraudulent applications.

Japanese Revokes

Executives of St. Marianna University School of Medicine Hospital bow in apology during a news conference in Kawasaki, Kanagawa Prefecture, on April 15. (The Asahi Shimbun)

Last year, a series of such fraud cases were revealed at St. Marianna University School of Medicine Hospital in Kawasaki leading to the revocation of credentials for 23 designated psychiatrists and supervisory doctors.

Following the scandal, the ministry reexamined 3,374 individuals across the country who applied to be designated as mental health doctors between January 2009 and July 2015.

During the probe, the ministry came to suspect 98 individuals of having committed fraud, and questioned them further. Nine were then cleared of suspicion or voluntarily returned their credentials.

Among the latter was a psychiatrist who decided to forcibly send a man, who was later arrested on suspicion of mass murder, to a hospital for treatment for mental illness. The 26-year-old man, Satoshi Uematsu, was arrested in July for allegedly killing 19 residents at a facility for disabled people in Sagamihara, Kanagawa Prefecture.

Applicants for mental health doctor designations must have at least three years of psychiatric practice and are required to submit reports on at least eight cases they have been engaged in.