There has been a lot of confusion over who exactly is allowed to donate blood according to Japanese regulations, especially foreigners. To try and clarify the situation I have translated the entire list of categories of persons who are NOT allowed to donate blood in Japan, from the Japanese Red Cross official web page.
The biggest confusion is regulations relating to foreigners, especially because of mad cow disease aka spongiform encephalitis (Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease).
The following categories of people are BANNED from donating blood in Japan.
Please do not clog blood donations centers if there is even a chance you fall into one of the following categories, and instead find some other way to help.
Please also note first of all that ANYBODY who has entered Japan in the last four weeks may NOT give blood.
First, the rules relating to BSE/Mad Cow Disease
To clarify the below rules, please calculate your TOTAL amount of time spent in ANY of the countries in categories 1~4 during the relevant risk period for that country. If your total period of time in a high-risk country during a high-risk period is equal to 6 months or more than you are banned from blood donations for life.
Similarly, if you have spent a total of 5 years total in any of the countries listed in all 6 categories during risk periods, then you are banned from blood donations for life in Japan unless a new medical test in the future causes the regulations to change.
Please note that no countries in North or South America are on this list; despite the worries over Canadian/US beef it was never transmitted to humans.
- Anybody who has spent a TOTAL of 30+ days in the UK between the years 1980 and 1996.
- Anybody who has spent a TOTAL of 6+months in the UK between 1997 and 2004. (Note: Also include period of stay under category 1,3,4 in this total.)
- Anybody who has spent a TOTAL of 6+ months in Ireland, Italy, Holland, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Germany, France, Belgium, Portugal, between the years of 1980 and 2004. (Note: Also include period of stay under category 1,2,4 in this total.)
- Anybody who has spent a TOTAL of 6+ months in Switzerland between the years of 1980 and 2004. (Note: Also include period of stay under category 1,2,4 in this total.)
- Anybody who has spent a TOTAL of 5+ years in Austria, Greece, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Luxembourg, between the years 1980 and 2004. (Note: Also include period of stay under category 1,2,3,4,6 in this total.)
- Anybody who has spent a TOTAL of 5+ years in Iceland, Albania, Andorra, Croatia, San Marino, Slovakia, Slovenia, Serbia, Czech Republic, Vatican City, Hungary, Bulgaria, Poland, Bosnia, Herzegovina, Macedonia, Malta, Monaco, Montenegro, Norway, Lichtenstein, Romania, between the years of 1980 through the present day. (Note: Also include period of stay under category 1,2,3,4,5 in this total.)
Next the rules relating to blood parasite diseases.
- Anybody who has entered the country in the past four weeks.
- Anybody who has entered Japan after visitinga malaria high-risk area within the last year. This is true even if you were only at a resort area of the country. HOWEVER, if you have been specifically tested for malaria and been found negative you may donate blood.
- Anybody who has entered Japan after living in a malaria high-risk area within the last three years.
- Anybody who has ever lived in a region known for Chagas Disease, AKA American trypanosomiasis. (This is a blood parasite like malaria.)
- Anybody recently returned from Africa or who has lived in Africa and ever tested positive for African trypanosomiasis (African sleeping sickness.)
- Anybody who has ever tested positive for babesiosis, another blood parasite most commonly found in tropical regions such as Africa or Latin America.
- Also anybody who has engaged in medical work, research, field work, etc. in any regions known for similar diseases should not donate blood.
Last are other categories of persons who may not donate blood.
- Anyone who has or has had heart disease, or malignant tumor,
- Anyone who has rheumatic fever or is on antibiotics due to risk of rheumatic fever
- Sufferers from any convulsive disorder
- Sufferers from blood-loss related diseases such as hemophilia or purpora.
- Stroke victims
- Anyone with medicine allergies, nephritic syndrome, chronic inflammation disorders.
- Anyone currently experiencing extreme hunger or sleep deprivation.
- Anyone currently taking prescription drugs, except for those such at vitamins with no harmful side effects.
- Pregnant women or breast-feeding mothers.
- Anybody with a fever, specifically temperature of 37℃ or higher
- HIV, hepatitis infected persons (free AIDS testing centers link)
- Anyone who has ingested marijuana or other psychoactives within the last year
- Any man who has engaged in homosexual behavior
- Anyone with a history of sex with anonymous partners
- Anyone who has been treated for hepatitis A within the past 6 months. Also, since it is often transmitted by shellfish, anybody whose family member has been treated for hepatitis A within the past 1 month. Hepatitis B and C stay in your system, so you are permanently banned.
- Anybody who has ever RECEIVED a blood transfusion. (Due to the possibility of viruses as yet unknown to medical science.
- Anybody who has gotten a body piercing (ears included) within the past year.
- Anybody with a piercing on a mucous membrane such as the lip, tongue, nose, no matter when you got it.
- Anybody who has gotten a tattoo within the past year.
- Anyone who has been vaccinated using an inactive vaccine within the past 24 hours for diseases such as influenza, Japanese encephalitis, cholera, hepatitis A, pneumonia, whooping cough (pertussis), tetanus (may not be a complete list)
- Anyone who was given anti-HBs human immunoglobulin in combination with a hepatitis B vaccine, anyone who was given an emergency rabies vaccine (that is, after being bitten) within the past 1 year.
- Anyone given a vaccination for mumps, rubella/German measles, Bacille Calmette-Guerin (tuberculosis vaccine), or other mildly active vaccine (live attenuated) vaccine or any hepatitis B vaccine within the past 4 weeks.
- Anyone vaccinated against smallpox within the past 2 months.
- Anyone given an antisterum for tetanus, snake bite or other poison, gas gangrene, botulism etc. within the past 3 months.
- Anyone who has had dental surgery that caused bleeding within the past 3 days.