TOKYO:The Japanese government yesterday shrugged off an announcement by a controversial sect of the birth of a cloned baby in Japan where cloning is banned.
“I do not think the case is worthy of comment at this point. There is no publicised scientific evidence,” Atsuko Toyama, Science and Technology Minister told a press conference.
“We should not deal with it as a legitimate announcement,” she said.
Her comments came shortly after the Clonaid group, run by the controversial Raelian sect, which believes the human race was cloned from extra-terrestrials who came to Earth 25,000 years ago, said a third cloned baby had been born to a Japanese couple.
Although it offered no proof at a press conference in Toronto, Clonaid claimed that the boy was a clone of a baby boy who died about 18 months ago and that he was born on Wednesday in Japan and was doing well.
The group has refused to give evidence for its claims to have produced three human clones, including the Japanese one, and international scientists have expressed widespread scepticism.
Japanese officials dismissed the announcement as a publicity stunt.
“We have no information about the case, and we have no plan to investigate it. It is not even worth talking about,” said Yutaka Hishiyama, official at the bioethics and biosafety office of the Health, Labour and Welfare Ministry.
“It is a publicity stunt,” he said.
Those who engage in human cloning in Japan face prison terms of up to 10 years and fines of up to 10 million yen (RM321,815). – AFP
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