The ICJ wrote to the Prime Minister of Japan in May 1984 suggesting that the Japanese government might wish to consider appointing an independent Commission to enquire into the treatment of mental patients and the legislation relating to it.
This followed several reports alleging serious violations of the human rights of patients in Japanese mental hospitals, which received worldwide publicity.
As no reply was received, the International Commission of Jurists decided to respond to a request made to it in September 1984 to send a mission to Japan to enquire into these matters and to report with recommendations. The request was made by a Japanese lawyer, Mr. Etsuro Totsuka, on behalf of the Japanese Fund for Mental Health and Human Rights.
Since the mission had to include psychiatrie as well as legal experts, the International Commission of Jurists invited the newly-formed International Commission of Health Professionals to co-sponsor the mission, which they kindly agreed to do.
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