Japan should follow other nations on use of Pill

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 17 September, 1996, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 17 September, 1996, 12:00am

The Japanese Government has been reluctant to allow the use of the Pill as a method of birth control.

As a result, the use of the Pill has been kept to low levels, used by women who have it prescribed to them by their doctors for medical or health purposes.

The root of this issue can be traced back to 1967 when the Japan Health Ministry did not allow the use of the Pill because it claimed it posed health problems.

Thus, by banning the Pill, there has been a tremendous growth in the number of abortions in Japan and this poses an even greater health problem for Japanese women.

Even when the low-dosage Pill was released into the market in 1987, by 1992, the Health Ministry had again banned its use.

Although the low-dosage Pill is taken in many countries around the world, Japan still refrains from prescribing it since it believes such use will only encourage the spread of sexually transmitted diseases. The low-dosage Pill has proved to be a legitimate alternative to the high-dosage Pill, considering that the latter has had side-effects, such as diabetes and migraines.

Japan should not procrastinate any longer, but should make a firm decision.

It should accept the Pill as a method of birth control and stop putting Japanese women to any more risk.

BENJAMIN LEUNG Jardine's Lookout