The prevalence of BRCA1/2 germline mutations in Japanese patients suspected to have hereditary breast/ovarian cancer was examined by a multi-institutional study, aiming at the clinical application of total sequencing analysis and validation of assay sensitivity in Japanese people using a cross-sectional approach based on genetic factors estimated from personal and family histories. One hundred and thirty-five subjects were referred to the genetic counseling clinics and enrolled in the study. Full sequencing analysis of the BRCA1/2 gene showed 28 types of deleterious mutations in 36 subjects (26.7%), including 13 types of BRCA1 mutations in 17 subjects (12.6%) and 15 types of BRCA2 mutations in 19 subjects (14.1%). Subjects were classified into five groups and 22 subgroups according to their personal and family history of breast and/or ovarian cancer, and the prevalence of deleterious mutations was compared with previously reported data in non-Ashkenazi individuals. Statistical analysis using the Mantel-Haenszel test for groups I through IV revealed that the prevalence of Japanese subjects was significantly higher than that of non-Ashkenazi individuals (P = 0.005, odds ratio 1.87, 95% confidence interval 1.22–2.88). Family history of the probands suffering from breast cancer indicated risk factors for the presence of deleterious mutations of BRCA1/2 as follows: (1) families with breast cancer before age 40 within second degree relatives (P = 0.0265, odds ratio 2.833, 95% confidence interval 1.165–7.136) and (2) families with bilateral breast cancer and/or ovarian cancer within second degree relatives (P = 0.0151, odds ratio 2.88, 95% confidence interval 1.25–6.64). (Cancer Sci 2008; 99: 1967–1976)