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
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
Tokyo Medical Examiner's Office
Opens at 9時00分 a.m.
Comes to the scene in five cars
Equipped with six dissection tables
with aspiration function.
Issues death certificates every day
of the year.
Blood, urine or gastric contents
are analyzed to dermine the
presence of any chemical/
Final diagnosis is conducted with
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