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Japan may ease rules on 'morning-after pill' next year: report

56 Comments
By Elaine Lies

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One example of many where 'rules need to be eased'.

21 ( +24 / -3 )

I didn't realize you needed a prescription for that. With the amount of complications in Japan and the time needed to make an appointment, waiting, and convincing the doctor why you needed the pill, i guess it takes a month or so.

10 ( +16 / -6 )

Good, about time.

17 ( +22 / -5 )

Welcome to the late 20th Century.

15 ( +23 / -8 )

Cue some idiot talking about the low birth rate in Japan.

12 ( +17 / -5 )

a reform that would bring Japan in line with nearly 100 other countries.

Great! one down.. 100 more to go?

10 ( +12 / -2 )

And with that, Japan came roaring into the mid-1980s.

18 ( +22 / -4 )

In August, a senior official at the Japan Association of Obstetricians and Gynecologists sparked an uproar when he said that women had not had enough education about sex and contraception, and he worried that making the pills available over-the-counter would lead to women being irresponsible.

This is what worries me most about, people in a position of authority speaking about their personal beliefs without a base to sustain it on.

19 ( +24 / -5 )

Birth rate will be approaching zero soon.

-12 ( +8 / -20 )

I wonder of condom makers will ever pull out of the market

12 ( +14 / -2 )

Politicians saying that now that this is available over the counter, everyone will take it and there will not be any more babies born in Japan in 3, 2, 1...

6 ( +8 / -2 )

With this announcement another section of Japan's "Jurassic Park" seems scheduled to close, but dinosaurs aplenty still roam the feudal range stomping on individual freedoms and rights. Yet who knows what changes the present covid "cull" will bring to society and Japanese social mores?

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

can someone explain what this article means by " just after the anti-impotence drug Viagra"

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Japanese doctors can make a lot more money out of abortions than selling pills; so they are resistant to let a cash-cow slip out of their hands.

9 ( +10 / -1 )

Doesn't mean one should stop using a raincoat with viruses lurking.

10 ( +12 / -2 )

@rgcivilian1: Until 1999 the regular low dose pill was not prescribed for contraceptive use in Japan - One of only 4-5 countries in the world at the time. Viagra was launched and was approved for use in Japan almost straight away. Those who has been campaigning for the pill to be prescribed in Japan were rightly outraged at the time after trying for 30 years to be able to use it here. Very shortly after that, low dose pills were very quietly approved for use here.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Doesn't mean one should stop using a raincoat with viruses lurking.

If the people involved are engaging in casual sex, then yes.

But as has been highlighted in the article. The activists are calling for a ease in rules, for the victims of rape (in particular). Because a rapist doesn't care about using a condom

-2 ( +5 / -7 )

At last.

Some old men will oppose it citing the low birth rate.

1 ( +9 / -8 )

Getting a prescription quickly can be hard for victims of rape or other sexual violence, they say.

Don't be ridiculous, JT. The first thing that any rape victims needed to do is not to run to a nearby pharmacy to buy a morning after pill. The priority should be to make a police report. These guys (police) will then take care of the pregnancy prevention, whatever the methods are.

-9 ( +1 / -10 )

72 hours is three days. The woman needs to be able to access this pill any time she is able - be that before or after a police report.

4 ( +9 / -5 )

I think is a good thing they finally did this but i think is also better if they put a age restriction on the sales of these things.

Firstly teens might be a little too excited to seek it out if it can be easily bought. Curiosity is in our nature.

Last thing we want is have a huge spike in STD because the item becoming too popular. People might get too comfortable taking these because of how convenient it is.

-13 ( +2 / -15 )

Firstly teens might be a little too excited to seek it out if it can be easily bought. Curiosity is in our nature.

All the more reason they should have access to it. Do you think they will stop having sex just because they don't have access to pills?

10 ( +13 / -3 )

Their got to be a morning after, this was actually a song with that name

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

Loooot of people here showing that they've never taken the MAP.

To quell some fears, there is little evidence showing that the availability of the MAP is related to lower rates of use of other forms of contraception, to my knowledge. It is much easier and cheaper to use a condom than it is to get your hands on the pill, even in places where it's easily available. The times I've gotten abroad it I was lectured at by self-righteous pharmacists, and in Japan, obviously it took getting an actual prescription. Many people have stories of pharmacists refusing to sell MAP or even standard birth control to them. Secondly, the MAP is like a massive dose of daily birth control all at once, so it can make you feel quite sick after taking it. It's also pretty pricey. I wouldn't jump to assuming that people will pop them like candy if they're made easier to buy.

Kids are already having sex, but they're largely uneducated about it and more protection is always better. With the number of stories we read in Japan where women kill or abandon their newborns, I would hope this would be great news welcomed with open arms.

11 ( +12 / -1 )

reckless:

Birth rate will be approaching zero soon.

Not if you're willing to adopt unwanted babies or help them out financially.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

@virusrexToday  08:27 am JST

My objection is different - as a matter of principle if there is a pill that would eliminate the consequences, is there still a need to be "responsible" (a nice way of saying abstinence)?

-6 ( +0 / -6 )

Some old men will oppose it citing the low birth rate.

typical men telling women what they can and cant do with their bodies

6 ( +8 / -2 )

@Hiro

I think is a good thing they finally did this but i think is also better if they put a age restriction on the sales of these things.

Firstly teens might be a little too excited to seek it out if it can be easily bought. Curiosity is in our nature.

Last thing we want is have a huge spike in STD because the item becoming too popular. People might get too comfortable taking these because of how convenient it is.

The MAP needs to be easily accessed for the times when it's necessary, and believe me, nobody will take these because of 'convenience' or 'comfort'. Just like Victoria Maude pointed above, the pill can make you pretty sick and queasy, and I'm sure no woman wants to put that on herself on a regular basis. Remember condoms can also break, so the MAP is also needed by the 'responsible' ones, not just the curious and experimental ones...

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Senior official at the Japan Association of Obstetricians and Gynecologists sparked an uproar when he said that women had not had enough education about sex and contraception, and he worried that making the pills available over-the-counter would lead to women being irresponsible.

Where do they dig up these dinosaurs? Its 2020 fgs..

4 ( +5 / -1 )

My objection is different - as a matter of principle if there is a pill that would eliminate the consequences, is there still a need to be "responsible" (a nice way of saying abstinence)?

Abstinence is not the only way to be responsible.

Are you seriously arguing that the availability of the pill will make otherwise responsible people irresponsible?

7 ( +9 / -2 )

Why japan confuses Morning After with next year?

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Abortion is the number one cause of death in the world, including Japan.

Until research demonstrates that Levonorgestrel is not a medication that takes the life of a human being, Japan should not “ease rules” and be socially and morally responsible.

-13 ( +0 / -13 )

@Rolf Anderson: I assume you are pro-life - and you are entitled to your opinion.

However, this does not take the life of a human being and does cause abortion even in higher doses such as used in the MAP. I'm sorry, you are totally entitled to your beliefs but that is an incredibly ignorant statement.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

P. SmithToday 02:41 pm JST

Abstinence is not the only way to be responsible.

Let's face it, when an old fart says "responsible" in terms of sex, usually he is demanding abstinence before marriage.

My argument is more that if consequences are lessened or eliminated, you don't have to restrain yourself anymore (generally, when people ask for "responsible" behavior, they are asking for restraint).

0 ( +1 / -1 )

If men stopped raping, insisting on sex as their right, and took responsibility for their bodies and their actions by wearing a condom as a matter of course, there wouldn't be such a need for this pill.

If girls were confident that they could refuse to have sex if their partner refused to wear a condom - or simply because she didn't want to have sex after all - without fear of repercussion, there wouldn't be such a need for this pill.

100% of unwanted pregnancies are caused by men.

I don't mean that women should not take responsibility - they do because they have to. If only all men understood that they have to take responsibility too. But Not All Men do, not by a long stretch.

-4 ( +4 / -8 )

The priority should be to make a police report.

Clueless. You think a police report fixes things even most of the time?? They don't. Not minutes after, nor hours, days nor weeks. And the police will always be there, ready to most likely waster your time. However the morning after pill will likely be a giant help and its window of use is very limited. After that a woman can be sure she won't have the rapist's baby to carry and be more assured filing that report.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Well said Vanessa (as always).

@Maria - Condoms break sometimes. Couples who are actually together, even married, get carried away.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Abortion is the number one cause of death in the world, including Japan.

I don’t recall any research about women with the rights to their body dying from terminations except in christian countries where women are categorized as second class citizens and through desperation using back street clinics or coat hangers.

if you study a bit, a zygote is not A human. A bigot is a human.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

I'm sure that the every law enforcement out there do have proper medical procedures to help prevent rape victims from getting pregnant, without needing the victims to get their hand on the contraceptive themselves.

 the police will always be there, ready to most likely waster your time.

Oh well, when even a drunken sexual intercourse between two consenting adults these days have that possibility of being turned into a rape allegation, I'm certain that the police too won't be able to entertain all of those pseudo rape victims.

I do agree though, that this demographic group will certainly be benefiting a lot from the easing of contraceptives procurement!

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

After that a woman can be sure she won't have the rapist's baby to carry and be more assured filing that report.

I usually don't agree with on most social issues, but on this one, I completely agree. When I first came to Japan in 1999 the pill was illegal and I think a year or two later they legalized it, but medical experts and the media drove into the peoples head that the pill is dangerous and causes cancer so it took a very long time for it to catch on because a lot of women didn't want to go near it and even now a lot of women have reservations about it because they're worried that they will get fat, addicted or suffer physically from taking it.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

 in 1999 the pill was illegal

It wasn't actually illegal, but you could only get it on prescription.

I know, because I did. No problem, just go to the gynaecologist, say you want the pill, he takes a blood pressure reading and writes out the prescription.

I think when people say it was 'made legal' they mean it became available over the counter.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

They have a Morning After Pill? Wish i had known earlier could have saved thousands in abortion clinic visits...

Oh wait did somebody say the MAP would cause a low birth rate? or do they mean abortion clinics would get less revenue?

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

@ Rolf Anderson. It’s not medication to bring about an abortion, it’s emergency contraception, it prevents conception. The clue is in the name.

I think pills that terminate an unwanted pregnancy should be over the counter, cuts the need for surgical terminations.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

@bass4funk: Well - accept you don't agree with most things :) You're not actually quite correct about this though. Until 1999 the pill was not 'illegal' but was only prescribed to combat irregular periods etc - it was not prescribed for contraceptive means. Of course if you knew the right gyro and paid up - that was a different story. Also, the pills available up until then were incredibly high dose, resembling products marketed in the 1970's elsewhere. When it was finally allowed to be prescribed (and marketed as such)for contraception, the dose was much lower (tri-phasic etc) and much more in line with was available in the rest of the world.

However, you are right that there was and STILL is a stigma attached totally unnecessarily to the pill in this country for the most of the (wrong) reasons you have listed above. In most countries you do still need to see your own doctor to assess your health and which particular pill will suit your body.

As for the morning after pill, its just silly that its not for sale OTC in Japan - albeit with a chat to the pharmacist like most countries , other than the US where it is literally ON the counter.

About time anyway.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

"If men stopped raping, insisting on sex as their right, and took responsibility for their bodies and their actions by wearing a condom as a matter of course, there wouldn't be such a need for this pill."

Here it comes. Every subject even remotely related to sex has to be changed to a reminder about rape, women oppression, patriarchy, gender discrimination, etc etc.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Everyone here is talking about taking the MAP but no one is talking about the side effects of the morning after "PUKE" pill!!

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

The population of people on Earth is exploding, and common sense methods to deal with that explosion need to be implemented. Making a birth control method available to young women who need it makes sense, if it is safe.

I would point out that just in the length of my lifetime, the population of people has gone from fewer than 2.5 billion, to more than 7.8 billion, a more than three-fold increase.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Great !!.. More sex, less babies !!..

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

The population of people on Earth is exploding, and common sense methods to deal with that explosion need to be implemented. Making a birth control method available to young women who need it makes sense, if it is safe.

I would point out that just in the length of my lifetime, the population of people has gone from fewer than 2.5 billion, to more than 7.8 billion, a more than three-fold increase.

I have some news for you. In the developed world the population explosion has long since dissipated. We now face a population implosion. Fertility rates across the developed world, with the interesting exception of France, are uniformly below replacement. Populations in the developed world are falling except for those few nations that welcome immigrants. East Asia in particular will see a rapid population decline in the coming decades. The fertility rate in northern China is only 0.5, meaning only one child is born for every four adults alive there. This has huge implications for the economies of the developed world and their standard of living as their working age populations decline while their elderly populations increase.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Condoms statistically aren't even best choice for preventing pregnancy. The most reliable method by far is the IUD. Contraceptive foams and gels offer about the same protection as condoms for preventing pregnancy.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

R. T. responds about my comment that "If men stopped raping, insisting on sex as their right, and took responsibility for their bodies and their actions by wearing a condom as a matter of course, there wouldn't be such a need for this pill." by saying'

Here it comes. Every subject even remotely related to sex has to be changed to a reminder about rape, women oppression, patriarchy, gender discrimination, etc etc.

Firstly, rape is mentioned in the article.

Secondly, do you feel that asking men to a) stop raping, and to b) take responsibility for contraception is unreasonable?

Condoms break sometimes. Couples who are actually together, even married, get carried away.

Yes, so there is still a need for the morning-after pill. But there wouldn't be such a need for one if everyone were more responsible about cntraception.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Maria: All valid points but perhaps a different forum?

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Until 1999 the pill was not 'illegal' but was only prescribed to combat irregular periods etc - it was not prescribed for contraceptive means.

It was in the late 70s when I went to the local sanfujinka for the first time and told him I was getting married and needed reliable contraception, what did he recommend? I fully expected to be offered an IUD, but he immediately suggested the pill. At the time I didn’t even know it was available in Japan.

Of course if you knew the right gyro and paid up - that was a different story.*

We moved house a few times before we were ready to start a family, and each time I just went to the nearest/most convenient clinic. Since I was on sarariman health insurance at the time I ‘paid up’ the same 10% I would be expected to pay for any other medication. There was certainly nothing fishy or underhand or secretive about it.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

All valid points but perhaps a different forum?

Seeking healthy and reasonable alternatives to women having to take a massive drug cocktail seems very on-topic to me.

It is good that this is available, but it shouldn't be considered an easy option.

I predict a lot of buck-passing, and ducking responsibility along the lines of:

"I don't need a condom because you can just get that pill tomorrow, here's a fiver."

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@Cleo: Not disputing that you were prescribed the pill - but I bet it was very high dose. Your doctor at the time by the way wouldn't have prescribed that to you 'legally' as a contraceptive as it never was, and still isn't post 1999 available on Japanese Health Insurance. He would have booked that prescription for something else when making his claim back from the Government for the other 90%!

@maris - It's hardly a drug 'cocktail'. At first I took your concerns seriously but I think you are here with the same intentions as @Rolf Anderson. If you want to have conversation about Mifoprostol, then sure - that's a different matter.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I bet it was very high dose

It probably was - it was back in them days, after all.

Your doctor at the time by the way wouldn't have prescribed that to you 'legally' as a contraceptive as it never was, and still isn't post 1999 available on Japanese Health Insurance.

That's interesting. None of the doctors who prescribed it for me mentioned anything about it being anything but perfectly normal and above-board.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

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