Birth Control And Abortion
Abortion is legal in Japan as long as it is done within twenty-two weeks of conception. In 1997, a total of 337,799 abortions were reported. Among these, 23.8 percent were among women between the ages of twenty and twenty-four, and 20.4 percent were among twenty-five- to thirty-year-olds. The number of abortions overall has decreased since the 1960s, but the teenage abortion rate is increasing. This increase is occurring because teenage girls lack knowledge of birth control and their reproductive function and rights. When women have abortions, they have strong feelings of guilt and fear of taking a life.
In Buddhist temples there is a special way of mourning an aborted baby's soul, called mizukojizou. Often temples ask women to donate a large amount of money to mourn her aborted baby, claiming that otherwise, the women will be possessed by the evil spirits of aborted babies. This kind of superstition is still alive in some rural and urban areas. Some temples profit greatly from this superstition.
The most common method of birth control is the condom (77.8% in 1998). Use of the birth control pill (1.1%) is not widespread because it is available only through gynecologists and can not be purchased without a prescription.
Marriage and Family EncyclopediaMarriage: Cultural AspectsJapan - Mating And Marriage, Gender Roles, Masculinity And Men's Suicide, Decreasing Number Of Children - Leave for Working Parents, Conclusion