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東京都福祉保健局 東京都監察医務院

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About Medical Examiner's Office

Role of Medical Examiner's Office

Established in March 1948 under Article 8 of the Corpse Autopsy and Preservation Law, the Tokyo
Medical Examiner's Office is responsible for conducting postmortem examination and for determining
the cause of death for all cases of unnatural death within Tokyo's 23 wards. The Tokyo Medical
Examiner's Office has served not only to protect the rights of deceased but also to contribute to
advances in medical knowledge. Valuable information into the cause of death gained during the
investigation process is shared with the medical education, clinical medicine, and preventive medicine
communities.
In the year 2013, the Tokyo Medical Examiner's Office performed 13,593 medical examination and
conducted 2,338 autopsies. The daily average number of medical examinations was 37.2 and that of
autopsies was 6.4. <The number of medical examination accounts for roughly 18% of the total number of
deaths in Tokyo's 23 wards.> That means that one out of 5.5 persons die of unknown causes or
accidents that require inspection by medical examiners.

Cases of death that require a medical examination

Postmortem examinations are conducted to determine the causes and circumstances of death.

1) Natural death which falls within these parameters:

(a) Death without the consultation of a physician
(b) Death by an unknown cause despite a physician's consultation
(c) Death under a medical condition different from that during treatment
(d) Death under unusual circumstances at onset of the disease and death
e.g.: -Acute sudden death -Sudden death of an apparently healthy person -Suspicious death through accident or overwork -Unusual circumstances

2) All suspected cases of immediate death caused by external factor sush as traffic

accident, fall, drowning, burn, suffocation, poisoning, explosion, hypothermia, electrocution,
or subsequent death due to injuries or conditions resulting from such external factors.

3) Unclear deaths, either natural or unnatural

4) Cases found dead

Workflow of Tokyo Medical Examiner's Office

Figure Outlines of inspection and autopsy

Photograph Tokyo Medical Examiner's Office


Tokyo Medical Examiner's Office
Opens at 9時00分 a.m.

Photograph Inspection team


Inspection team
Comes to the scene in five cars

Photograph Dissecting room


Dissecting room
Equipped with six dissection tables
with aspiration function.

Photograph Reception desk


Reception desk
Issues death certificates every day
of the year.

Photograph Pharmacochemical examinations


Pharmacochemical examinations
Blood, urine or gastric contents
are analyzed to dermine the
presence of any chemical/
poisonous substance.

Photograph Histopathological examinations


Histopathological examinations
Final diagnosis is conducted with
a microscope.

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