Photo: iStock: Sorapop

Getting the contraceptive pill in Japan

By Margot Curtis

The percentage of Japanese women who take oral contraception is still minimal in comparison to women in the West, where it reigns as one of the most popular forms of birth control. But fear not ladies, here are the ins and outs of purchasing birth control pills in Japan.

Birth control pills are known as keiko-hinin-yaku (経口避妊薬) but more commonly referred to as piru (ピル). They were only legalized in 1999, four decades after they became available in the West. In fact, Japan was the only U.N. member to not approve of the drug when other countries did, and this delay has had a knock-on effect on the pill’s popularity to this day.

But in reality, it is a cheap, easy and effective method of birth control that is not too difficult to get your hands on.

Why the pill obsession?

The pill became available in the 1960s and symbolized liberation for Western women at a time when abortion was still largely illegal due to religious taboos. Years as adolescents have been spent eyeballing enormous femidoms and how to correctly put a Durex on a banana, which might have left us all slightly scarred yet painfully knowledgeable about our sexual practices and the choices we individually have.

Click here to read more.

© Savvy Tokyo

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Disgraceful that the pill could only be prescribed here (legally) as a contraceptive until the late 1990's - (but Viagra only took 6 months to be approved) Was quite surprised when I got here in the early 1990's and my first proper girlfriend asked ME about it. Even now, the majority of women in Japan don't know how the low dose version actually works, or the benefits and downsides.

The excuse by the earlier 1990's that approving the pill would just further spread STD's was of course a load of old rubbish as general education level of contraception here was appalling anyway.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Even worse is that contraceptive injections, implant and patches are practically impossible to get in Japan, even when they are extremely popular overseas for some patients because of their convenience and advantages.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Indeed @virusrex. Japan is living in the 1950's when it comes to contraception - all to protect the (surgical) abortion clinics. STILL can't get the Morning After Pill even off a pharmacist here.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

The medievals want to end abortions????..

Easy, give sex education and free access to women for the morning after pill..

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Isn’t it pathetic?

To write: “Fear Not Ladies”…like they’re in Afghanistan.

or “Pill OBSESSION”.

This is the NORM of Birth Control in a “Developed” nation.

The norm should NOT be to have to RESORT to an Abortion.


0 ( +1 / -1 )

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