This article examines what could account for the low autopsy rate in Japan based on the findings from an anonymous, self-administered, structured questionnaire that was given to a sample population of the general public and physicians in Japan. The general public and physicians indicated that autopsy may not be carried out because: (1) conducting an autopsy might result in the accusation that patient death was caused by a medical error even when there was no error (50.4% vs. 13.1%, respectively), (2) suggesting an autopsy makes the families suspicious of a medical error even when there was none (61.0% vs. 19.1%, respectively), (3) families do not want the body to be damaged by autopsy (81.6% vs. 87.3%, respectively), and (4) families do not want to make the patient suffer any more in addition to what he/she has already endured (61.8% vs. 87.1%, respectively).