In First, Japan Top Court Finds Tattooing Not Medical Act

Society Lifestyle

Tokyo, Sept. 17 (Jiji Press)--Japan’s Supreme Court for the first time has ruled that tattooing people without a medical license does not constitute a violation of the medical practitioners law.

In the decision, handed down on Wednesday, the top court’s Second Petty Bench turned down an appeal by public prosecutors over a suit against a 32-year-old man who tattooed three people. It finalizes a high court ruling that overturned a district court verdict fining the man 150,000 yen.

Prosecutors had argued that tattooing people can be considered a medical act, and that tattooists must therefore have medical licenses. The man did not have a medical license.

The Second Petty Bench defined medical acts as “actions considered medical treatment or health guidance that could cause hygienic harm if not done by doctors.” It then said that “tattoos require artistic skills different from medicine, and that it cannot be assumed that doctors do the act exclusively,” concluding that the practice is not a medical act.

In a concurring opinion, Presiding Justice Koichi Kusano said that a new law should be made if there is a need for legal restrictions to prevent risks from tattoo procedures.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press