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Psychiatry org. head raises eyebrows for publishing call for guns in hospitals

TOKYO -- The head of Japan Psychiatric Hospitals Association turned heads publishing a remark by another doctor saying that psychiatrists should be allowed to carry handguns in the association's journal.

    The association, comprised of psychiatric hospitals across Japan, told the Mainichi Shimbun on June 22, "We have never accepted violence toward psychiatric patients. We will be mindful of using more appropriate wording in the future."

    The problem arose from association head Manabu Yamazaki quoting a doctor employed at the hospital at which he serves as the director in a journal preface that he penned. After writing that security guards at hospitals in the United States carry or even fire handguns, Yamazaki quoted the doctor as saying, "My opinion is 'psychiatrists need to be allowed to carry handguns.' Director, do you agree with me?"

    In response to the quote, the Alliance against Physical Restraint in Psychiatric Care, made up of patients and lawyers against the practice, submitted a written inquiry to the association on June 22. The inquiry stated that patients feel anxious about the comment, and asked whether Yamazaki really agrees with the doctor's opinions on guns and other questions.

    Representative of the alliance and Kyorin University professor Toshio Hasegawa said, "I would like to discuss this matter with officials from the association."

    (Japanese original by Mami Yamada, City News Department)

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