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No. 46 • January - June 2008 • Page 141
 •  Initiatives

Ashiya (Japan) -- The legal concept of the person and human life

About 60 people gathered in Seido Language Institute, in Ashiya, on the evening of March 23 to take part in a conference given by Dr. Setsuko Akiba, professor of law and a member of the Pontifical Academy for Life, on the legal concept of the person and the beginning of human life.

Professor Akiba explained that the controversy over questions such as abortion, artificial insemination and cloning, are usually seen as a confrontation between two points of view.

On the one hand, he said, an individualistic tendency finds the highest values in autonomy and the search for one's own happiness. In the framework of a viewpoint closed to the metaphysics of being, these values are defended by positivism and utilitarianism. A position which is radically distinct is the personalist, in which the foundation of the juridical system is the principle of the dignity of each person.

Dr. Akiba reminded the audience of the Japanese “Peace Constitution, grounded firmly in a personalism that insists on the inviolable right to life and the dignity of every person including the smallest and weakest.

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