Press Releases

1999 Releases

Approval of Low-Dose Oral Contraceptives in Japan Highlights Need for Better Women's Health Services

For immediate release: December 13, 1999 

Boston, MA--Last June, after more than 35 years of debate, Japan approved the use of low-dose oral contraceptives. In an article in the Dec. 8 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, researchers from Harvard School of Public Health and Yamagata University School of Medicine analyze Japan's past resistance to approval of oral contraceptives and explore the expected benefits and potential problems following approval.

The availability of oral contraceptives could lead to expanded choice and greater control for women over their fertility, and a reduction in the high rates of unplanned pregnancies and abortions. The proportion of unplanned births in Japan has been reported at 52 percent compared with 19 percent in France and 30 percent in the United States.

The authors, Michael Reich and Iain Aitken from HSPH and Aya Goto from Yamagata University and Harvard, recommend steps for the government and medical profession to improve health services for women in Japan, in order to ensure a positive impact of the newly available oral contraceptives.

The full text of the article is available at:

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