Although Japan is now considering medicated abortion pills, which are booming around the world and have been available in many parts of the world for decades, health officials said they still plan to require spousal consent for them, and they are expected to cost around $740. At the same time, abortion was recognized worldwide. Feminist movements abroad have led to increased social acceptance of abortion in the United States and other Western countries. The World Population Conference and the World Food Conference had drawn attention to the need for population control, and birth control was the answer. A new criminalization of abortion would put Japan at a disadvantage compared to the rest of the world. It may not be a topic of polite conversation in much of local society right now, but abortion has been around in Japan for as long as people. In early Japan, survival could be difficult due to poverty, famine and health problems. In the Edo period, pregnancy was often an unwanted burden for women working in sprawling entertainment districts. It is not uncommon for women to see pregnancy as an inconvenience to their livelihoods and abortion as a necessity.  « I was really nervous about what could go wrong, worried that the father wouldn`t even show up when I arrived.
I was afraid I would have to pay for an expensive plane ticket with a piece of paper in my hand that I had to sign, » she said. « I feared the worst-case scenario: having to go home with the paper without a signature. The government reluctantly acknowledged the need for contraception and was forced to reverse its population policy. This led to the revival of the Japanese feminist movement after the war. However, this was still not enough to guarantee an easy path for abortion rights activists. Space Allies has just launched a campaign to decriminalize abortion in Japan and make it accessible to all women. « The concept of `our bodies, ourselves` is not permeated, » Fumi wrote in his email. « Decriminalizing abortion, spreading the concept of `our bodies, ourselves` and achieving holistic women`s health are the goals of pro-choice feminists in Japan. » Compared to other countries, Japan lags far behind when it comes to abortion and reproductive rights. Gradually, however, we can see small steps towards progress. Earlier this year, Robin Stevenson`s book « My Body My Choice: The Fight for Abortion Rights » was translated into Japanese.
 However, much remains to be done before reproductive rights are fully recognized at the national level. Overall, the total number of officially reported abortions in 2019 was 156,430, a 56% decrease from the number reported for 2000. The overall abortion rate increased from 22.3 to 15.3 abortions per 1,000 live births over the same period. If you go back further, there were 598,084 abortions in 1980 and 1,063,256 in 1960.  In 2019, 49 abortions were reported for women under the age of 13 and another 3,904 for women aged 14 to 17. Approximately 39,805 abortions were performed on women between the ages of 20 and 24.  Because of this, many women were still becoming pregnant and abortion rates continued to rise. Family planning has begun to take over. In 1951, the cabinet decided to support contraception, arguing that birth control was the only way to ensure « civilized, healthy, and happy families. » In 1952, they again revised the Eugenics Protection Act, which allowed abortions with the consent of a doctor. A Buddhist priest shares his views on abortion: « Of course, we can`t take a life.
Buddhist law does not allow us to do this. On the other hand, a woman shouldn`t have to have a baby if she doesn`t want to. A child should not have to be born into a family that does not want one. We need to be compassionate.  She had planned to obtain a university degree and was not willing to raise a child. But when she went to a hospital in Hokkaido, northern Japan, where she lives, she was told she would have to wait two weeks for the procedure because her fetus was too small. In the meantime, she was told to seek the consent of the baby`s father, even though they were not married. But in the 1970s, conservatism rose and revived ancient customs such as the Mizoko Mass, a memorial ceremony for aborted fetuses. Soon, negative attitudes toward abortion spread throughout Japan. « I wake up every morning thinking about abortion and what could have been different, » said Yuriko, who is scheduled for next month. « If less invasive pathways like abortion pills were available, as is the case in other countries, I think I might have been able to do it. » ASAP steering committee member Phan Bich Thuy runs this highly successful blog that covers everything from gender and sexuality to safe abortion in Vietnam.