Abortion Pills to be Made Available in Japan for First Time

The abortion pill will become available for the first time in Japan after the health ministry authorized an early pregnancy termination drug.

Up to 22 weeks, abortion is lawful in Japan, but consent is typically required from a spouse or partner, and surgical procedures were the only option until recently.

Friday, the ministry informed healthcare officials that it had approved a drug manufactured by Linepharma.

In December 2021, the British pharmaceutical company submitted its two-step mifepristone and misoprostol treatment for approval in Japan.

Similar medication is available in numerous nations, including France, where the abortion pill was first approved in 1988, and the United States, where it has been available since 2000.

The sanction of the pill to terminate pregnancies up to nine weeks is the result of a ministry panel’s vote, which was delayed for a month due to the thousands of public comments.

According to NHK, the entire cost of the abortion pill and a medical consultation would be approximately 100,000 yen (£585). Not covered by public health insurance are abortions.

Abortions performed surgically can cost between 100,000 and 200,000 yen.

In recent weeks, Mifepristone has been at the center of a high-profile court battle in the United States. The Supreme Court has provisionally preserved access to a commonly used abortion drug, halting lower court decisions that would have banned or severely restricted its availability.

Additionally, activists in Japan advocate for improved access to the morning-after pill.

In Japan, emergency contraception cannot be purchased without a doctor’s prescription. It is also the only medication that must be consumed in front of a pharmacist to prevent illegal distribution.