COVID-19 INFORMATION What you need to know about the coronavirus if you are living in Japan or planning a visit.
lifestyle

Abortion: What to expect and where to go if you have to take that path in Tokyo

11 Comments
By Julia Mascetti

For some people, becoming pregnant in Japan is great news. It can be the start of an exciting new chapter of your Japan life, and a source of great happiness. However, for some women, carrying an unplanned pregnancy to term feels like an impossible prospect, whether due to financial constraints, social pressure, health or personal reasons. If this happens to you, you have options.

Depending on your home country, attitudes and regulations regarding abortion may be more or less lenient than you are used to. In Japan, abortion is legal if it’s related to preserving physical health, in the case of rape or incest, or for economic or social reasons. It is also not uncommon. Though slightly questionable due to underreporting, according to the Ministry of Health, in 2016 there were 168,015 abortions in Japan.

If, for any reason, you need to go through this frightening situation, here is some basic information on what to know before you do it — and how to be prepared for it.

What to know in advance

If you suspect that you might be pregnant and are considering termination, act quickly as it becomes more difficult (and expensive) to abort the further you are into your pregnancy. Medical abortion ("the abortion pill") is not available in Japan. The only option is a surgical abortion, which can be performed in many ob-gyn clinics in Tokyo. Abortion is legal until the third trimester, after which it can only be performed if the life of the mother is threatened.

Something that might be shocking to women from western countries is that Japan requires the consent of the father for an abortion to be performed. The only exception to this is if you can document that the father is missing, deceased, or that the pregnancy is a result of rape. In reality, however, the clinic will not verify who the actual father is, so if you are not comfortable with involving that father, you can ask (or bring along) a male friend to sign the consent form instead.

When booking your abortion appointment with the clinic, the staff will instruct you where to obtain the consent form and what to bring on the day of your appointment. Typically, the form can be downloaded from the hospital’s website, as in the case of Tateyama Ladies’ Clinic which we mention later in the article.

Click here to read more.

© Savvy Tokyo

©2020 GPlusMedia Inc.

11 Comments
Login to comment

Though slightly questionable due to underreporting, according to the Ministry of Health, in 2016 there were 168,015 abortions in Japan.

That's a huge number for a Country that's in population decline, it seems like unfortunately Japan has picked up some of the bad habits of the West.

-7 ( +3 / -10 )

Good that women are free to maintain control of their bodies and choose what to do. The world has too many people anyway.

With that said, why would the pill be unavailable??

6 ( +9 / -3 )

Fees

Abortion is not covered by the Japanese national health insurance so you will have to pay for the procedure yourself. First trimester abortions (up to 12 weeks under the Japanese system) cost around ¥100,000. Second-trimester abortions can cost ¥200,000 or more due to the greater complexity of the process and the additional hospital services involved.

Very expensive. It's tragic to think that the cost is why women end up carrying to term and then abandoning, or even worse. All this could be avoided if only the man wore a condom, and the woman insisted that he did.

If only people were that unselfish, strong-minded, and smart.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Is carrying the baby to term less than 100,000-200,000 yen? I guess for those women who end up having the baby at home or in the park toilet and then abandoning the newborn, it is.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

At least the option is available here in Japan. It would be interesting to see some breakdown of age groups seeking Abortions. If for example, the majority were young, then Education may, as Maria hints at, be a possible focus. When young, Kids may wish to experience things, without thinking about the Consequences...

4 ( +4 / -0 )

I stand corrected, there is a link to a Japanese document that does shown the breakdown by age.

Before 20's old there has been a gradual decline in unwanted pregnancies since 2012, the vast number of abortions take place between 20-24, tapering off above 45.

I guess, alcohol plays a significant role in the 20-24 age range...

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Something that might be shocking to women from western countries is that Japan requires the consent of the father for an abortion to be performed.

Not only to women.

Back in the day (am talking late 80s & 90s), many/most euro teens i knew were on the pill and guys were always using condoms/withdrawal anyway. It sure wasn't perfect but unintended pregnancies were fairly low (considering the amount of sex we were having). It looks like young blokes having irresponsible ejaculations (without knowing -nor caring- if the girl's on the pill) has become the norm. Pretty sad.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

That's a huge number for a Country that's in population decline, it seems like unfortunately Japan has picked up some of the bad habits of the West.

The "West" didn't invent sexual activity, and Japan legalized abortion way ahead of most "Western" countries: emergency abortions were legalized in 1923, and legal abortion became more generally available in 1948.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Japan needs better access to different kinds of contraception.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

*Abortion is not covered by the Japanese national health insurance so you will have to pay for the procedure yourself. First trimester abortions (up to 12 weeks under the Japanese system) cost around ¥100,000. Second-trimester abortions can cost ¥200,000 or more due to the greater complexity of the process and the additional hospital services involved.*

The fact that people have to front this cost themselves causes people who are most vunrable at risk allow with the babies they are carrying of being abandoned.

The government needs to fund abortions. The economic cost of a child in statutory care far out weighs the cost of a medical procedure.

I am not saying these kids lives are not of value, of course they are. I am saying women deserve the right to choose, regardless of their economic situation. To give up a child negatively impacts lives for both parents and child. The children in care homes are at a great disadvantage compared to other children, which can make or break a person.

The point is Japan can do better and it makes economic sense to look after women in the workforce.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

The government needs to fund abortions. The economic cost of a child in statutory care far out weighs the cost of a medical procedure.

I doubt it will happen unless the Japanese government finds it expedient for population control measures. http://www.ajwrc.org/english/sub/voice/11-1-4.pdf an older article on the Maternal Protection Law (formerly Eugenic Protection Law, name changed and obvious eugenic vocabulary removed in 1996; contrary to what the article mentions, cases for redress for human rights violations under this law have been gaining media attention recently) but much of it is still relevant. The slant of the law is towards considerations for the population.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Login to leave a comment

Facebook users

Use your Facebook account to login or register with JapanToday. By doing so, you will also receive an email inviting you to receive our news alerts.

Facebook Connect

Login with your JapanToday account

User registration

Articles, Offers & Useful Resources

A mix of what's trending on our other sites