Curiosities about abortion in Japan

Abortion (中絶 - Chūzetsu) in Japan has been legal since 1948. Fortunately, Japan has a very low unwanted pregnancy rate. It is not common for religious or moral discussions around the release of abortion, the government’s only concern is that it helps to lower the Japanese birth rate which is a major problem.

Japan only allows abortion with the mother’s consent and if it is for a valid reason. Anyone who attempts to practice or induce abortion without the mother’s consent or using clandestine and unauthorized methods, can be punished and imprisoned.

The History of Abortion in Japan

Japan has a long history of abortion, it was banned for a long time from 1842 until 1923. After this year doctors were allowed to perform abortion in emergency cases where it put the mother’s life at risk. After World War II, Japan suffered from food shortages and ended up legalizing abortion.

Currently, abortion is widely accepted by more than 70% of the population in Japan, this does not mean that they agree to abortion, they just have no problems with the law that allows abortion and thinks that it is the family’s option to decide such an act.

Another big factor is that the Japanese do not have the habit of meddling in the life and decision of others, they find lack of respect and education to go against an opinion of others.

It is worth remembering that the practice of abortion is something that has happened for many centuries worldwide. In the past, absurd methods were used, such as kicking the mother’s belly, exposing the pregnant woman to intense cold, etc.

There were several bizarre cases of abortion and baby murders that made the government decide to legalize abortion, one of which was a midwife who ended up killing hundreds of newborn babies, with a false argument that he was concerned about the condition of families in raising the babies. .

Curiosities about abortion in japan

Miscarriage is not allowed in Japan, but ...

Another thing that many end up confusing is that Japan does not allow abortion for any reason. Abortion in Japan is only available to women in limited circumstances, with compromised health or economic hardship.

However, licensed doctors who supervise and perform abortion, turn a blind eye to these rules. So any woman can use a simple excuse to have an abortion without having problems with the law.

Under Japanese law, you can abort if:

  • The pregnancy was a result of rape;
  • He has no financial means to support his son;
  • It can compromise the mother's health;
  • It can harm the mother’s mental or mental health;
  • He has no mental conditions to care for a child;

Data on abortion in Japan

The numbers show that doctors and families are not honest about the permissible reasons for abortion. About 250,000 abortions happen in Japan a year, it's impossible that this number is from mothers with problems. 

40 out of every 1,000 pregnant women in Japan are believed to have an abortion. It is worth remembering that the numbers are never accurate, since doctors end up hiding these numbers in order not to pay taxes or to abort without valid reason.

Curiosities about abortion in japan

Japan has the lowest teenage pregnancy rate in the world. Only 4 out of 1,000 pregnancies are from girls under 19 years old. Of the abortions that take place in Japan, only 8% belong to young people under the age of 20. One of the things that ends up leading teenagers to commit abortion is discrimination against young pregnant women.

Abortion facts

You have probably heard of Kokeshi, which are very popular wooden dolls as ornaments and souvenirs. These dolls were originally used by families who had had an abortion (natural or induced). They were placed in the house to represent the unborn child and thus try to repair the harm they had done.

Curiosities about abortion in japan

In Japan there are also many temples dedicated to "mizuko" which mean "children of the water", but one explanation for the etymological origin of that word is that using other kanji but maintaining the same reading, that word can mean "unseen children" (because they were never born).

Many women who have had abortions go to these temples to pray for the souls of their aborted children, as a way of asking for forgiveness and making amends. When I was traveling to Japan I found this in the temple next to Tokyo Tower (See a prominent photo at the top of the article).

My conclusion on the subject

I was very relieved to know that under the law, abortion for any reason is prohibited, it is a pity that this rule is not fully applied with firmness and many abortions are performed for futile reasons.

The truth is that abortion in Japan is a very sensitive issue and I unfortunately didn’t have time to address even half of it. Although Japan allows abortion, it is curious to mention that even in Brazil being banned, there are more than one million abortions per year.f

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