Saitama Medical University stops sex-change operations – By Kanako Ida, The Asahi Shimbun

Japan’s leading hospital in sex-change operations has stopped offering its services, leaving a cloud of uncertainty hanging over the treatment of patients suffering from gender identity disorder.

Saitama Medical University called a halt to the operations after professor Takao Harashina, a surgeon specializing in plastic surgery, retired at the end of April.

University President Toshio Yamauchi said it had become impossible to assemble a team of experienced doctors to perform sex-change operations.

Gender identity disorder, the condition in which people do not identify with the sex they were born with, is slowly beginning to win social recognition in Japan.

The suspension of operations at Saitama Medical University could jeopardize the hopes for the treatment of the nation’s estimated 10,000 patients, experts say.