Fifty years ago: Thriving business in skeletons

Published - May 15, 2024 04:13 am IST

Tokyo, May 14: A number of Calcutta-based trading firms are doing thriving business in export of human skeletons and internal organs to foreign countries, including Japan, for use by medical students. Japan alone imports about 200 skeletons every year.

News of export by India of this commodity came to light with a report appearing recently in Mainichi Shimbun which said import of skeletons from abroad had been necessitated in the last 15 or 20 years due to their shortage at home.

A spokesman for the Hanehara Skeletons Specimen Research Institute in Tokyo which has been importing skeletons solely from a firm of Calcutta since 1955 said it imported skeletons only from India. He would not reveal the import cost per skeleton, but the Mainichi report quoting educational ministry sources said one human skeleton was sold by the importers to medical institutions for the equivalent of about Rs 5,000. No licence is required for import of human skeletons in Japan, nor are any customs duties levied. All skeletons come by air.

Processing and export of human skeletons and preserved internal parts is stated to be a regular business in Calcutta, with well-organised factories which supply skeletons of all ages of humans.

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