Contraceptive use and induced abortion in Japan: how is it so unique among the developed countries?
Ryuzaburo Sato, National Institute of Population and Social Security Research, Japan
Although Japan is among countries of low fertility, that is common to the developed countries today, its situation of fertility control is very different from others. In this paper, we review the trends of contraceptive practice and induced abortion in post-war Japan, examine demographic characteristics of contraception users, and estimate the contraceptive prevalence rates for women of reproductive age for international comparison. The transition from induced abortion to contraception began in the 1950s and ended in the 1970s, but more than a few abortions have been reported even after this period. The contraceptive behaviour in Japan appears unique among developed countries, with generally lower rates of contraceptive prevalence, predominance of condom use, and very low use of medical methods. The age of wives, marital duration, parity, and the desire for the next child are associated with contraceptive use, and there exists an “unmet need” for family planning among Japanese couples.