It all started with someone writing in to say that they were turned away by a Red Cross center in Kagoshima because they couldn't speak Japanese. After contacting the Japan Red Cross Society, they clarified that some centers might reject a foreigner who isn't fluent in Japanese because of potential health or safety problems. Ultimately, it's up to the discretion of each center and the overseeing physicians.
In a follow-up column, Foreigners disqualified as blood donors for wide range of reasons, I shared the responses many of you kindly offered. Now, I should state that I don't write the headlines and after seeing this one, I can see that if you read the headline and not the column itself, you might automatically assume foreigners can't donate blood in Japan at all, which is not true. The column explains, through many of your responses, that people are not typically disqualified because of lack of Japanese ability, but rather standard protocol, as is common in probably most or all of our home countries and around the world.
The column did not imply that all foreigners are disqualified from giving blood in Japan. The point was to illustrate that not all donation centers are concerned about language ability as long as you understand what's going to happen and are healthy enough to donate, or have no other reason why you can't/shouldn't give blood.
Nonetheless, I received several emails saying that I was essentially pushing some sort of sensationalist, racist agenda, which again, is not true, and was exactly what I was trying to prove (after checking facts) isn't true.
While I suppose it could be possible that some doctors at some blood centers in Japan are racist, I can't prove or disprove any of that, and investigating that isn't the purpose of the column. It's about helping people, finding facts and sharing experiences.
The Japan Red Cross Society is not against foreigners donating blood (they want people to donate blood, for crying out loud). And that was the point I was trying to make.
I hope that clears things up, but just to make sure I clarified things for all of us, today's column details who can and can't give blood in Japan. So if you're looking to donate blood in Japan, please check out this column for nearly everything you need to know: Safe blood requires strict, and detailed, standards
Also, regarding the part on CJD and BSE (mad cow disease) and all the time spent in various European countries, this part was left out but I think it's important (you'll want to read the column to see what (b), (c), (d), (e), (f) and (g) refer to):
- Time from (b), (c) and (d) will be combined for a six month total
- Time from (b), (c) and (d) will be included with (e)
- Time from (b) through (e) and (g) will included with (f)
- All categories listed will be combined with (g) for the five-year total
Now, if anyone would like to share their successful blood donation stories, please do! :)