Abortion law Japan


In Japan, the artificial abortion is a penal offence; only in the presence of certain conditions it is authorized under the provision of the Eugenic Protection Law which was promulgated in 1948. The duration of pregnancy  is prescribed by notification from the Ministry of Public Welfare; up to now it has been shortened twice and it is legal up to 21 weeks (1976, 1991). Due to the introduction of economic reasons in the list of conditions and the simplification of the procedure the artificial abortion in Japan was virtually liberalized. Prosecution for illegal abortion is very rare in recent years. 

"Abortion in Japan", Yamamoto K, Yamamoto Y, Hayase T.Arch Kriminol. 1993 May-Jun;191(5-6):177-84., 


Abortion is legal in cases of - 

  • (1) when the pregnant woman or her spouse suffered from a hereditary disease or mental disease;
  • (2) when a relative to the fourth degree of either spouse suffered from such a disease;
  • (3) when either spouse suffered from leprosy;
  • (4) when the health of the mother might be seriously affected from the physical or economic viewpoint; and
  • (5) in the case of sexual crime. 

Under the socio-economic clause, abortion has been made widely accessible

Medical abortion is not provided as Mifepristone is not registered in Japan. However Misoprostol is available in the pharmacy in Japan.

Information above has been retrieved from the official UN website. Full text can be found here.