Over 200,000 Japanese women have an abortion each year. In Japan, “abortion is considered to be a reasonable process” and citizens fail to understand those who are against this procedure. Since abortion is not associated with any guilt or shame, “the interviews that normally precede abortions in Europe are not held in Japan“. Mariko, a young 24 year-old woman from Tokyo who decided to have an abortion at the very start of her career when she was 9 weeks pregnant explains: “in this country, essential psychological support is not considered either before or after the procedure“.
In addition to the low birth rate, reconciling a career and family life is a “virtually impossible task” in conformist Japanese society. After marriage, three out of five Japanese women give up their jobs as soon as they become pregnant with their first child. Mariko deplores this fact: “Society and even the employer would cast an unfavourable eye on a pregnant woman who continued to work“.