Deep Japan: Birth control pills and other contraceptives in Japan

Article by, originally published on Deep Japan

Why can’t I find many choices for oral contraceptives in Japan?

Unlike many Western nations and some Asian countries as well where the use of birth control pills is a common choice for women, Japan still has a long way to go until it nears the same level, partially because of its late legalization in 1999, almost 50 years after approval in the USA. That’s a very late start for a developed nation. Why was it so late? It is said that approval took time due to concerns with side effects of birth control pills such as risk of blood clotting, increased chances of certain cancers and an unsubstantiated concern about a rise in STDs. Some say that there were other political factors behind the late approval in Japan. Nevertheless, it seems that these initial concerns did impact public opinion, as even after oral contraceptives were approved popularity has not greatly increase.

How common is use of oral contraceptives in Japan compared to other nations?

According to the World Contraceptive Use 2014 Report, the most common form of contraceptive method in Japan in 2005 was male condoms at around 40% and birth control pills at a mere 1% , whereas the USA’s use of the same two methods were at 11% and 17%, respectively.

Does this mean I need to bring my own supply?

This doesn’t mean birth control options in Japan are limited. Most women’s clinics have the appropriate match to your needs, but it’s probably best to…




Deep Japan – Experienced Senpais living in and enjoying Japan offer inside-knowledge on how to make your trip real, interesting and above all, unforgettable.

Join the Deep Japan Senpai Team – Anyone currently living in Japan for a year or more who can write tips for visitors in English is welcome to register on Deep Japan as a writer.