Message from the Director General
The Japan Society of Hepatology
The Japan Society of Hepatology is an academic organization established in 1965 for the purpose of promoting research in hepatology and improving medical care for liver diseases.
Although the liver is the largest organ in the body and plays an essential role in keeping our healthy lives, acute or chronic liver diseases can occur due to various causes such as hepatitis viruses, lifestyle habits like drinking and overeating, or drugs. However, the liver is a “silent organ,” and it is difficult to notice until the disease has progressed.
The Japan Society of Hepatology has devoted to the treatment and research of hepatitis and liver cancer, which are national diseases in Japan, and to the training of young doctors and researchers in this field. In order to receive high-level medical care for liver disease anywhere in the country, it is important to train excellent specialists, and is necessary to develop various guidelines.
The Japan Society of Hepatology started a certified doctor system in 1989, changed its name to a hepatologist in 2002, and is currently preparing for the start of the society-certified specialist system. We have published clinical practice guidelines for viral hepatitis, liver cancer, liver cirrhosis, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), etc., and those are used at medical facilities throughout Japan. In addition, we actively raise disease awareness among the general public by holding lectures, and make proposals for government policies.
The progress in treatment and research for hepatitis C over the past quarter century has been remarkable, but while safe and highly effective antiviral treatments have become widespread, liver disease after viral elimination has emerged as a new problem.
Japan provides internationally outstanding medical care for early detection and early treatment of liver cancer. Recently, the number of options for molecular-targeted drugs has increased, and treatments for advanced liver cancer have made remarkable progress. Also, many new therapeutic agents have appeared in the last decade for the treatment of cirrhosis, which is a common end stage of various liver diseases. Comprehensive measures are needed to truly improve the prognosis of patients. In addition, our society must address a wide range of issues, including non-alcoholic steatohepatitis(NASH) as the most frequently occurring liver disease, failure of complete virus eradication in hepatitis B, and alcoholic liver disease and drug-induced liver injury.
The Japan Society of Hepatology is fully aware of the current situation and remains committed to further advancing research in hepatology and medical care for liver diseases and to guiding improvements over the next quarter century. In these efforts, the support and cooperation of society members and the public continue to be greatly appreciated.