Forbes reports that a previously divided Japanese government panel has recommended lifting the ban on therapeutic cloning in that country. Therapeutic cloning is a vital technology for much of stem cell based regenerative medicine. There are still a number of steps, committees and votes before this recommendation is enacted as law, so this is an early but promising step. The Japanese debate over therapeutic cloning and stem cell research is similar in many ways to the current furor in the US: the majority of the population backs this research, but decision makers and commentators are deeply divided. I am hopeful that desire for research and therapies will win through in the end - but the delays are costing lives.