At least 17 Japanese have received organ transplants in China since such surgery was banned for foreigners in 2007, according to a Japanese news agency.
The operations were mostly kidney and liver transplants and the patients were aged between 50 and 65, Japan's Kyoto News said, citing an unnamed official with a non-profit organ transplant organization in Japan.
The Japanese patients spent an average of about 595,000 yuan (US$87,000) each for their operations at an unidentified hospital in Guangzhou, capital of southern China's Guangdong Province, the report said. The patients received treatment in the hospital for up to 20 days, the report said.
The money covered fees to the hospital and doctors as well as traveling and accommodation costs in China, according to the news agency.
Some patients were admitted to hospital under Chinese names as requested by the hospital, Kyoto said. Most of the organs they received were probably from executed prisoners, the report said.
The Japanese official denied it was organ trade as none of the patients had paid their organ donors and no introduction charges were paid.
The report added that no Japanese had had such surgery since the Beijing Olympics last August because of "international pressure."
China banned the trade in human organs in May 2007, and prescribed that foreigners were not allowed organ transplants in China to protect limited resources.
China is the world's second-largest transplant nation after the United States, with about 5,000 operations performed in the country each year.
(Shanghai Daily February 9, 2009)