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Letter From Japan
December 8, 1999

Oral Contraceptives and Women's Health in Japan

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: Yamagata University School of Medicine, Department of Public Health, Yamagata City,Yamagata Prefecture, Japan (Dr Goto); and Harvard School of Public Health, Departments of Population and International Health (Drs Goto and Reich) and Maternal and Child Health (Dr Aitken), Boston, Mass.


Letter From Section Editor: Annette Flanagin, RN, MA, Managing Senior Editor.

JAMA. 1999;282(22):2173-2177. doi:10.1001/jama.282.22.2173

Japan approved the use of low-dose oral contraceptives (OCs) in June 1999, after more than 35 years of debate. The debate leaves a legacy of misinformation about and various sources of resistance to OCs. Benefits are expected to include greater control for women over their fertility and a reduction in the high rates of unplanned pregnancies and abortions. Successful implementation of the new policy will require a new emphasis on women's health, including the provision of accurate information about OCs and their associated adverse effects, a women-centered approach to gynecological practice, and the promotion of condoms as protection from sexually transmitted diseases, rather than as contraception alone.