Japan sees unintended pregnancies soar during pandemic

Japan Times -- Dec 30
An apparent surge in unintended pregnancies since April as the COVID-19 pandemic forces people to spend more time at home has prompted the health ministry to launch a nationwide study in order to come up with more effective policies to support women.

A research team from the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare will look into reasons women have given for having abortions this year and hopes to produce a detailed analysis by the end of fiscal 2020 next March based on region and age group.

Support groups for such women suggest that the rise in unexpected pregnancies is particularly marked among teenage girls and women in their 20s. They also say, as does government data, that sexual abuse is on the increase as an indirect consequence of the pandemic.

According to the nonprofit group Mikkumie in Mie Prefecture, the spring closure of schools during the initial wave of the pandemic appears to have pushed up teen pregnancies.

“I had sex with my boyfriend every day during school closures. Now I’m worried about being pregnant,” one caller told the group, according to the NPO’s representative, Noriko Matsuoka.

- Japan Times