Multiple endocrine neoplasia type 1 (MEN1) is an autosomal dominant disorder characterised by tumours of the parathyroid glands, the anterior pituitary, and endocrine pancreas. The MEN1 gene has recently been cloned and germline mutations have been identified in MEN1 patients in the United States, Canada, and Europe. We examined MEN1 gene mutations in MEN1 and MEN1 related cases in eight unrelated Japanese families. These families include five familial MEN1 (FMEN1), two sporadic MEN1 (SMEN1), and one familial hyperparathyroidism (FHP). Direct sequence analysis of the protein coding regions was carried out in all the probands. We identified six different heterozygous mutations in the coding region, of which five were novel, including one missense mutation (E45G) in both FMEN1 and SMEN1, three deletions (569del, 711del, and 1350del3) in FMEN1 and FHP, and two nonsense mutations (R29X and Y312X) in FMEN1 and SMEN1. Only one of these mutations (Y312X) has previously been reported. One proband with FMEN1 had no mutation in the entire exon sequence including the 5' and 3' untranslated regions. A restriction digestion analysis of 19 relatives from the five families showed a close correlation between the existence of the MEN1 gene mutation and disease onset. Four different polymorphisms, including two novel ones, were identified. These findings imply that a diversity of MEN1 gene mutations exists in Japanese MEN1 and MEN1 related disease, suggesting that analysis of the entire coding region of the MEN1 gene is required for genetic counselling in Japan.