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'We must change': Japan's morning-after pill debate

54 Comments
By Harumi OZAWA

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So what's the problem with using a condom? There are no longer STDs in Japan?

-29 ( +12 / -41 )

Dee, women have a right to use any form ,they choose to use

33 ( +40 / -7 )

Japan has world-class medical care, but is ranked 120th of 156 countries in the World Economic Forum's gender gap index, which measures health among other categories.

Not in my experience it hasn’t.

I have found Japan’s system to be very much a conveyor belt system which is not thorough and seems to be set up to rake in as much money as possible.

7 ( +28 / -21 )

But gynecologists have raised concerns, including that it could increase the spread of diseases by encouraging casual, unprotected sex.

I really wonder what doctors they talked to in getting this opinion? Gynecologists dont get involved in issues like this typically speaking, they treat patients, to the best of their abilities, and this medication is just one more tool they have at their disposal to save lives, physically, economically, and most importantly, in my opinion, emotionally.

I am guessing they found some 80 year old kwack!

5 ( +21 / -16 )

In October, a Japan Association of Obstetricians and Gynecologists survey found 40 percent of its members were against the proposal.

This I get, they are against it because it literally takes money out of their pockets because they will no longer be in the "loop". They want the power to control proscribing this medication.

Overall, 92 percent said they had concerns, with the report stating that "this country needs to improve sex education before considering whether to make the emergency contraceptive pill available over the counter".

Of course they will, and for the same reason I wrote here too. It's about money, power and control

!

10 ( +22 / -12 )

Good to see that Japan is debating this issue. The current system is so antiquated and totalitarian. Don't hold your breath for any results or progress though. This is Japan.

4 ( +23 / -19 )

This could also be the work of the creeping Christian lobby. I read some textbooks from a friends children in Kyoto. They attend a very famous Christian elementary and junior high school and the oldest, the university. I was shocked that even the eight year old was being taught that any type of termination of unborn zygotes/babies would lead to not being accepted at the gates of heaven.

japanese society needs to upgrade rapidly. Women need equal rights.

So what's the problem with using a condom?

japanese men don’t like them, and because of Japanese societal norms, quite often women should be subservient in bed. This needs to change.

0 ( +15 / -15 )

Perhaps Japan does need to change. It’s long overdue. Want to know what else needs to change? Accepting personal responsibility.

-5 ( +8 / -13 )

"In Japan's system, there's a perception that women may abuse what they have and do something wrong," said reproductive rights advocate Asuka Someya. "There's a strong paternalistic tendency in the medical world. They want to keep women under their control."

Yes indeed like everything else, It's all about Control and of course MONEY $$$.

Women have to go and spend an hour or 2 explaining their private life to someone they may not even know just to get the damn Pill, this is so backward, it is easier to get high than getting the Pill.

The drug makers and their "partners" in the government are in control here and they can lock the Japanese market by selling their pills only thru prescription at a much higher price than over the counter.

6 ( +17 / -11 )

And remember a child even born out of wedlock is still going to be a tax payer!

-4 ( +10 / -14 )

But gynecologists have raised concerns, including that it could increase the spread of diseases by encouraging casual, unprotected sex.

But do they have data to support these concerns? By this point most of the world have the measure in use and data should be readily available.

Overall, 92 percent said they had concerns, with the report stating that "this country needs to improve sex education before considering whether to make the emergency contraceptive pill available over the counter".

Having concerns is fine, but the decision has to be made considering the problems that are already confirmed and in urgent need of being solved instead of only the problems that may happen with the measure.

In a way it is like a doctor saying nutrition should be improved to increase hemoglobin levels, that is all fine and good, but if the patient is in urgent need of a transfusion the argument seems really inappropriate.

9 ( +15 / -6 )

Japan has world-class medical care, but is ranked 120th of 156 countries in the World Economic Forum's gender gap index, which measures health among other categories.

Not in my experience it hasn’t.

I have found Japan’s system to be very much a conveyor belt system which is not thorough and seems to be set up to rake in as much money as possible.

Same, not sure I agree on the money aspect, it’s just not thorough. Or procedures aren’t available which are easy to find in western countries.

There is a reason why so many people I know go back overseas for treatments .

-5 ( +7 / -12 )

Emergency contraception cannot be bought without a doctor's approval in Japan and is not covered by public health insurance, so can cost up to $150.

Right, so the entire point of "emergency" goes out the window here if you have to make an appointment and it's up in the air if you get said appointment on the same day. The whole point of the morning-after pill is to have it be readily accessible should accidents happen.

But until a decision is made, those seeking a termination must undergo an operation to remove tissue from the womb with a metal or plastic instrument.

Have we not moved on from back alley, coat hanger style abortions? This sounds like the uterus version of an excerebration.

Contraceptive pills were approved in 1999, after decades of deliberation by the government -- compared to just six months for Viagra.

> Nowadays they are used by just 2.9 percent of women of reproductive age, compared to a third in France and nearly 20 percent in Thailand, according to a 2019 U.N. report.

> Meanwhile IUDs, which sit inside the womb to prevent pregnancy, are used by 0.4 percent while implants and injections are not available at all.

These stats are unfathomable as they are mind-boggling. Japan seems to project this image of being a progressive, developed country but in reality their approach to social issues, women's rights and sexual and reproductive health is still stuck somewhere in medieval times.

This whole article reads like Japan missed the Sexual Revolution of the 60s, which maybe it did. They really need to get with the program and support women's health and reproductive rights. Again, -educate your children on their options.

-5 ( +11 / -16 )

So what's the problem with using a condom? There are no longer STDs in Japan?

So what's the problem with the morning after pill?

17 ( +21 / -4 )

Anything that stops unwanted pregnancies and babies ending up in coin lockers and trash bins is a good thing.

22 ( +23 / -1 )

This could also be the work of the creeping Christian lobby. I read some textbooks from a friends children in Kyoto. They attend a very famous Christian elementary and junior high school and the oldest, the university. I was shocked that even the eight year old was being taught that any type of termination of unborn zygotes/babies would lead to not being accepted at the gates of heaven.

Wouldn't surprise me. Apparently the American evangelicals never had an issue with it, seeing it as a Catholic issue, but it the 1970s they adopted it as a cause. You can see how it has now worked its way through to the Supreme Court.

But Japan does not generally have a problem with religion infecting everyday life. Which almost makes it a surprise why things like the pill and morning after have been such issues.

I never knew about the dual consent needed for abortion. That shocked me. But given how low Japan is on the sexual equality tables, it's not so surprising.

1 ( +12 / -11 )

Abortion rights are just as restrictive, campaigners say, with consent required from a male partner, and a surgical procedure the only option because abortion pills are not yet legal.

It's a matter of privilege for doctors and bureaucratic red-tapes.

The Japanese Association of Obstetricians and Gynecologists was once criticized when it insisted that abortion pills be bought for the same amount as surgical procedure, or about 100,000 yen. Outrageous. The surgical procedure also has some risk of making women infertile.

「中絶薬10万円」で炎上した日本産婦人科医会

https://www.medical-confidential.com/2022/02/09/post-13572/

9 ( +9 / -0 )

Just don't have sex until you're married and ready for children.

It's really that simple

-27 ( +3 / -30 )

And remember a child even born out of wedlock is still going to be a tax payer!

But don't forget the adult that deems it necessary to dispose of a child is going to become a ward of the state sucking that tax and a few more right back.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

So what's the problem with the morning after pill?

The morning-after pill is and should be your last resort, not your go-to method of contraceptive. It's why it's also called Plan B, for when Plan A - condoms, the pill etc. fail.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

I don't understand why they don't want to use condoms. It gives relatively high protection plus also protects from STD and HIV which both are on the rise recently in Japan.

https://news.yahoo.co.jp/articles/46f1529f46b9685455cd7117e0c3c4d9be3aa8a8

新規梅毒患者数が年間1万人ペースで増えているという。

-4 ( +4 / -8 )

A previous government panel rejected making emergency contraception available over the counter in 2017, and many medics remain opposed to the change.

As usual Japan is decades behind the rest of the world.

The said panel composed of fossil expert oyajis and the gynecologist lobby group are just protecting their cash cow at the detriment of kokumin as per norm here.

TIJ in 2022.

-4 ( +9 / -13 )

Dee

Today  06:56 am JST

So what's the problem with using a condom? There are no longer STDs in Japan?

Probably hard to grasp if you’ve never used one but they can break you know ?

7 ( +9 / -2 )

Just don't have sex until you're married and ready for children.

It's really that simple

Laughable.

A significant number of people are not interested in getting married.

A significant number of people are not interested in having children.

It's really that simple.

11 ( +16 / -5 )

As usual old men making medical decisions about womens health. I bet it wouldn’t take long if an anti baldness pill was discovered to make that available. Or an anti premature ejaculation medicine became available. In the mean time viagra gets through no problem, years ago. Any gynecologist who says that is talking BS. It’s more like a nice little earner for them. It’s also non of anyones else’s business what that women does. So let her have the care she needs.

12 ( +13 / -1 )

Women in Japan can get the morning after pill from any clinic. They also have much easier access to abortion than women in the US. Stop complaining. Your own fault u allowed ur partner to do you raw.

-9 ( +8 / -17 )

kurisupisuToday  07:10 am JST

Japan has world-class medical care, but is ranked 120th of 156 countries in the World Economic Forum's gender gap index, which measures health among other categories.

Not in my experience it hasn’t.

I have found Japan’s system to be very much a conveyor belt system which is not thorough and seems to be set up to rake in as much money as possible.

I have to disagree. You can basically choose which clinic you can visit. You can choose which doctor you can visit. You can choose the time you can visit. The health outcomes in Japan are consistently better than many other countries. The doctors are free to prescribe any test they wish and although sometimes it is a complete waste of time and money.( eg must do those influenza tests) there are reasons for it. Eg your employer wants proof you have influenza so you get paid. You also get to add all this to

your tax deductions, and in many cases it’s cheaper to get 3 months worth of painkillers than buying the same meds OTC. One other aspect is doctors do t have one eye on a fixed budget leading to doctors not referring patients to hospitals. Where as here, you get a letter and of you go, walk into any big hospital. Trying getting a CT scan. You might wait 5 months in some countries but here, less than a week. So I’d say the Japanese health care system is pretty darn good. But then again whose really screaming for the American health care system. Sorry your denied! Drying care because the shareholders profits are more important.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

I don't like this situation.

STOP making HEALTH decisions for people. Their body is their choice.

IF I want to take a vaccine it is my choice.

IF women in Japan want to use PILLS let them it is their body and their choice.

Leave people alone.

8 ( +10 / -2 )

I doubt it's the pharma companies objections as much as the doctors. The drug companies can still make it expensive as an OTC, which they do with so many other OTC drugs. But, the doctors will lose out on that office visit. They may even require unnecessary tests, to make sure you are healthy enough for the drug.

Doctors want that office visit money, just like they do for prescription refills. I have only found one doctor that will prescribe 3 months worth, and one who des two months. Otherwise, my and my wife's doctors only prescribe one month's supply, sometimes less. This requires an office visit for a new prescription every month, wasting our time and money, while making more money for the doc.

In the US, doctors often write prescriptions with refills built-in. You just go to the pharmacy every month to get the refill. No doctor's office visit required. It's not unusual to get a years worth of refills on one prescription. And, when it's time for a new prescription for another 12 months, you do it over the phone or online, with no office visit necessary.

But, TIJ, where you have to spend an hour or so waiting in an enclosed space filled with sick people, just to get a new prescription every month or less.

They definitely don't want to give up that office visit money.

1 ( +6 / -5 )

Unlike the US where it is a religious issue to allow women access to any form of abortion methods or not, in Japan this debate is simply about money.

Surgical abortion is not being debated. This is available even late term. The issue is about allowing women to take the morning after pill, which then would negate the need for surgical abortions, therefore reducing a huge financial stream for gynecologists.

Gynecologists simply want to keep abortions under their control so they can get financial benefit. Their excuses for not promoting the pill are laughable.

9 ( +12 / -3 )

Excellent issue to debate in Japan !!..

Japan has to give women access to the morning after pill..

Women have to empower their reproductive rights and this pill is a great help..

For the medievals: If you want to end abortion, you have to understand that women to obtain this pill, in addition to better sex education for men and women, it would be the end of unwanted pregnancies..

Just don't have sex until you're married and ready for children.

It's really that simple

Really !!... Unbelievable !!.. LOOOL !!..

Can't you understand that sex is a very important part of our lives and that many of us have the decision to live with or without children and have or not have sex???

What century are you living in???..

6 ( +8 / -2 )

Totally ridiculous situation in Japan not being able to walk into a Matsumoto Kiyoshi and buy this OTC like in most countries even if, like in the UK a brief chat with the pharmacist on site has a quick chat with you. In the US it's just on the shelf. You can even buy on Amazon!

It's meant to do exactly what it says on the packet. Its emergency contraception - That's it. No one ever had a condom break? No one ever just not had one available? This isn't abortion, its not an abortion pill ( I support both fwiw) - but this shouldn't even be a 'moral' debate like some who above are trying to make it! @Wobot - I don't know what century you are living in or even more so what country, but Japan is NOT the bible belt.

It's sad the some men above need to make this a 'moral' issue or, what was the one disgraceful comment above? 'Your own fault u allowed ur partner to do you raw. '

Put yourself in a womans place - having to worry for 2-3 weeks for many reasons because contraception failed or wasn't used - OR having the choice to get down the drug store the next day and pop a pill.

@Larr Flint: Yes - I would hope we are all aware of the risks of HIV and many other STI's but we live in a real world.

10 ( +12 / -2 )

Don’t hold your breath about a rapid change,after all this is Japan,with such a paternalistic and sexist society where women are still treated in many ways as less.

When some social reforms might take yeas or a decade in your country to succeed here it will take at least a half century to follow.

-9 ( +4 / -13 )

Just don't have sex until you're married and ready for children.

It's really that simple

Everywhere abstinence is mandated, teen pregnancy rates increase. If you want fewer abortions, advocate for more contraceptives and more contraceptive choices.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

Just don't have sex until you're married and ready for children.

Seems to me only priests and Christians preach this, and everyone knows how poorly that dogma turned out!

10 ( +11 / -1 )

I still find it unbelievable the Japanese women are ignorant about taking care of themselves in this issue. I've spoken to some about this. Clearly they're not taught in school on the prevention or having a baby.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

a better option is to support unwed mothers and not treat them as an outcast. Also make adoption local and international easier.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

I am anti abortion and anti pill sonI feel no sympathy. I believe that not having sex is better if you are not prepared for consequences like having kids. Sorry no support from me for these women. I will also encourage others never to support such women.

-12 ( +1 / -13 )

@Kei Kurono: Do you feel, as a male that your opinion carries any weight? What do you mean ‘anti-pill’? Do you mean Plan B, COC or Abortion Pill? Or all methods of Contraception? How about Condoms? Coil?

3 ( +5 / -2 )

".. will encourage casual, unprotected sex"

Lol, do these people actually live in Japan

3 ( +4 / -1 )

An increase in STIs that’s what the board is concern about. Do they think grown women are babies??? How ridiculous!!!! I didn’t realized how serious this issue is in Japan until now..

Before I came to Japan, I thought it was like a leader and super advanced in Asia, but living here, I got to realize Japan is a very slow country to change. Very traditional and slow, bordering on Myopic. Light years behind the G8 countries on almost everything.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

"There's a strong paternalistic tendency in the medical world. They want to keep women under their control."

I misread ‘medical’ as ´medieval’. Or maybe I was right.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

Sarcasm by the way

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

@Abe234

The abortion pill is just the tip of the iceberg.

The medical profession and the pharmaceutical professions, compared with several other countries that I have received treatment in, seek to overly preserve their monopolistic power.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Dee

Today 06:56 am JST 

So what's the problem with using a condom? There are no longer STDs in Japan?

One word: shrinkflation ;)

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Original comment:

Abortion pills: No.

Erection pills: Yes.

Priorities. It's a man's world

(Sarcasm, by the way)

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

But gynecologists have raised concerns, including that it could increase the spread of diseases by encouraging casual, unprotected sex.

With matching air sucking between teeth…

Doctors doesn’t want to let go of their fees. If their prescription is not needed anymore, they won’t earn anything.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

I didn't read all the comments here, but whatever happened to 'the pill', as it's known here in Canada? It works in the manner it's intended to work. Not against STDs, of course, but that's different. We're talking about unwanted pregnancy here. Jesus H. Chr**t, Japan, grow up.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Doctors doesn’t want to let go of their fees. If their prescription is not needed anymore, they won’t earn anything.

I'm thankful that my worldview isn't such that the only motivation for anything is, and only could ever be, anything but financial. It must be depressing.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I didn't read all the comments here, but whatever happened to 'the pill', as it's known here in Canada?

It's not an either/or situation mate.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Why are the gynecologists even consulted? You only consult where the win loss is fine and you need a specialist. Where the alternatives are clear - such as when the alternative is invasive surgery, the battle is not close.

Just tell them that the pills are being issued, and they can get money from fixing any problems that arise. If that results in a net decrease in their revenue stream, so be it.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Viagra got fast tracked into Japan.........the contraceptive pill took decades and the morning after pill highly controlled.....tells you everything about who controls Japan

1 ( +1 / -0 )

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