national

Tama schools in Tokyo distributing free feminine hygiene products to students

34 Comments
By Casey Baseel, SoraNews24

Keiko Ikeda, a city councilwoman for Tama City, one of the western districts of Tokyo, was startled by a recent survey showing that 20 percent of respondents are struggling with the cost of feminine hygiene products during the pandemic-caused economic downturn. Together with the eight other female members of the council, last week Ikeda submitted a request to Tama Mayor Hiroyuki Abe asking for government action to help relieve such economic burdens for women. One of the requests was for schools to distribute products free of charge to students, and that’s what started happening the very next day.

On March 17, 26 public elementary and junior high schools in Tama began placing sanitary napkins in their girls’ restrooms, or distributing them on request from the nurse’s office. “Feminine hygiene products are necessities,” stressed Ikeda, “but there are children who can’t have their parents purchase them for them, and they need our support.”

In addition to financial concerns, the Tama board of education hopes that being able to obtain napkins anonymously, or at least directly from a nurse, will be of benefit to children who, for whatever reason, don’t feel uncomfortable discussing their menstruation status and cycles with their parents, yet are unable to buy the products they need on their own.

A total of 1,664 napkins, sourced from the city’s disaster relief stockpile, are being distributed to schools. While free distribution of feminine hygiene products is also taking place at the ward offices of Tokyo’s Toshima and Adachi wards this month, Tama’s program is the first in Japan to be carried out at children’s educational institutions. “This is the first, and most immediate, step we can take” said Abe, implying that other measures are also being considered and may be coming in the near future.

Sources: Yomiuri Shimbun via Itai News, Asahi Shimbun, Toshima Ward

Read more stories from SoraNews24.

-- Roughly one in eight of Tokyo’s new adults is foreign-born, study shows

-- Japan’s FamilyMart celebrates International Women’s Day with year-long sanitary goods discount

-- Pixiv will hold character design contest for Ikebukuro promotional anime

© SoraNews24

©2021 GPlusMedia Inc.

34 Comments
Login to comment

Although I think it's a good move overall, as this should be standard in all offices and schools I just can't believe that people can't afford 200 yen on sanitary napkins while buying a basket or cart full of groceries

-12 ( +7 / -19 )

This is a great move to ensure underprivileged young ladies receive the hygiene products they need.

16 ( +20 / -4 )

I just can't believe that people can't afford 200 yen

Period poverty is very real, and it's not just a one-off ¥200.

Bravo, Tama, well played!

16 ( +21 / -5 )

Well, its only one area. Tama. What about the rest of Japan?

5 ( +7 / -2 )

Good idea! Hopefully, it will catch on and include condoms or atleast better education about sex!

6 ( +10 / -4 )

Might as well start handing out free condoms to the boys as well. That might help reduce the number of teenage girls who try to flush there babies down the toilet.

-13 ( +5 / -18 )

Hey, I've got an idea! Instead of overengineering and overcomplicating things, shouldn't be such basic products taxed less than now? It's how it works in many countries, I don't see a reason why it couldn't work here as well. On the one hand, alcohol has lower tax in here than in other countries, but such hygiene products are taxed way higher than in other countries. Does it make sense?

Or, how about last year's abenomasku? The cost of one mask was just ridiculous and someone stuffed their pocket full of money. Instead such nonsense and waste of money, they could have put the money into things like this.

10 ( +10 / -0 )

Great news. They started this in NZ. There was a massive problem with school girls staying home during their period and falling behind at school. They are impoverished.

Free sanitary products made a massive positive impact.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

Yet to see any stubble on a male student's face, so obviously not a problem.

So we should hold off on feminine hygiene products until we see *signs that they are needed?

*I'll spare you the details.

-5 ( +3 / -8 )

I think it's fine. Provide them.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Hey, I've got an idea! Instead of overengineering and overcomplicating things, shouldn't be such basic products taxed less than now? It's how it works in many countries, I don't see a reason why it couldn't work here as well.

Agreed. I think there is a lower basic sales tax rate for food and stuff now, though I don't know if it includes sanitary products. The problem is it's only 8% vs 10% so it hardly makes any difference.

I always felt that when they raised the sales tax to 10% they should have cut the basic rate on essentials to either 5% or preferably 0%. Alternatively they could have done that in response to Covid.

It would have helped with a lot of issues, including this one.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Its a start, give the poor tampons, then free breakfasts and lunches, then free bus and train tickets, books and pens, uniforms, a house to live in, overseas holidays, a villa in the mountains to relax, a Rolls Royce .....

Who is going to pay? You and me the tax payer. If you can't afford to dress, feed and educate your children, wait until you can or don't have them. They are YOUR responsibility not mine!

-20 ( +2 / -22 )

Its a start, give the poor tampons, then free breakfasts and lunches, then free bus and train tickets, books and pens, uniforms, a house to live in, overseas holidays, a villa in the mountains to relax, a Rolls Royce .....

Who is going to pay? You and me the tax payer. If you can't afford to dress, feed and educate your children, wait until you can or don't have them. They are YOUR responsibility not mine!

Another slippery slope.....logical fallacy! Try again!

7 ( +10 / -3 )

How many boys are extremely embarrassed by having stubble? How many boys are in pain while growing stubble? How many boys stay home for a few days while their stubble grows? How many boys are hesitant and shy about buying razors & shaving cream?

Schools tend to give out free toilet paper, too. Should we stop that, too? After all, if you can’t afford to buy toilet paper, don’t have kids. Or charge ¥25~50 for the privilege?

Free lunches and breakfasts for students who can’t afford them benefit everyone, not just the person eating. Students without food don’t study as well, and in later life might be a burden on society. If they finish school, they have a better chance of becoming a productive member of society i.e. a tax payer just like you.

But rather than stop at a Rolls Royce, how about giving them a house? One with a slippery slope fallacy.

7 ( +10 / -3 )

@skotmanforyou

Sanitary napkins and tampons cost more than 200yen - you need to invest around 1000yen monthly. In addition to them, you often also need things like pain killers (not that cheap) and kairo, to try to alleviate the pain that comes with the period - every single month.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

Mr Kipling,

this is also about kids and young adults who can’t afford to buy the sanitary products on their own, but can’t get support from their parents either. I’ve heard reports of university students who - in the midst of this pandemic and the loss of their part time jobs - try to save on anything they can, and try to substitute napkins with toilet paper they steal from public toilets. Doesn’t really work that well.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Many families struggling to put food on the table, pay utilities, rent, mortgage, clothes.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

I also struggle to pay tax to pay for other people's necessities.

-12 ( +3 / -15 )

Period poverty is a huge problem. So many girls miss school as they do not have adequate sanitary protection. Scotland started giving away free sanitary products in schools last year.

8 ( +10 / -2 )

Proper disposal should be taught as well especially to the special education children.

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

Excellent move, and a solution that should be adopted country-wide, IMHO. I think Japan and the Japanese females generally treat menstrual issues far more openly and with a somewhat better understanding and education than most western countries, for a general societal benefit.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Good move, there is more poverty around than people realize.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

They've been doing this in the West for years, or at the very least, girls can just visit the school nurse or office to get a hygiene product. Japanese schools really need to get with the times in a plethora of ways.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Seems all to have become an accelerated downwards development to third or forth world countries alike societies, not only here in Japan, but now here too.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@Mr Kipling

I also struggle to pay tax to pay for other people's necessities.

Its OK you don't have a monthly period but it looks like you have the same problem as those young girls who can't afford to buy sanitary goods. That is money! Deal with it!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

kaimycahl.... I’ve got plenty of money thanks. I’d just like to use it for myself and not subsidise other peoples impoverished kids. It would be irresponsible to have a pet and not be able to feed it and pay vets bills but its fine to have children and expect others to pay?

-6 ( +0 / -6 )

This sounds like a very good idea....poverty is in places some would least expect, and any little bit helps. As for those who chime in with "What about condoms for the boys", I say HUH?

That's false equivalency at it's worst. Generally, boys choose to have sex. Girls don't "choose" to have a period.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I also struggle to pay tax to pay for other people's necessities.

But giving kids an education is a necessity for all, especially as we get older. It's good to know there are trained nurses, plumbers, and ambulance drivers available when we need them. Our taxes pay for school desks, textbooks, teachers, school nurses, and most things kids need to get an education. I don't think paying for sanitary napkins is a great extra burden.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Its a start, give the poor tampons, then free breakfasts and lunches, then free bus and train tickets, books and pens, uniforms, a house to live in, overseas holidays, a villa in the mountains to relax, a Rolls Royce .....

Slippery Slope Fallacy (noun): A fallacious claim about a series of events that would lead to one major event, usually a bad event. In this fallacy, a person makes a claim that one event leads to another event and so on until we come to some awful conclusion. Along the way, each step or event in the faulty logic becomes more and more improbable.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Might as well start handing out free condoms to the boys as well. That might help reduce the number of teenage girls who try to flush there babies down the toilet.

OH! Better idea! We give free vasectomies to all men before they reach adulthood, and then, when they are old enough and decide they want a child, we can reverse it for them! My logic is FLAWLESS! Because, after all, 100% of unwanted, teenaged pregnancies are caused by boys.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Mr Kipling

I also struggle to pay tax to pay for other people's necessities.

Paying taxes is not an equal system were we only pay taxes for what we use. I pay taxes which provides schooling for children. But I don't have any children.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Buy them all menstrual cups, they last 20 years and are better for the environment. A win-win.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Money is meaningless- just give everyone everything they want or need. Just print the cash and give it away. Let the parents off the hook for being responsible for the children they chose to have. Don’t let the huge government debts get in the way of raining down cash from the money tree.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Wolfpack

Money is meaningless- just give everyone everything they want or need. Just print the cash and give it away. Let the parents off the hook for being responsible for the children they chose to have. Don’t let the huge government debts get in the way of raining down cash from the money tree.

So you prefer to blame and punish the children.

1 ( +1 / -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