1950 April 12

U.S. Occupation Officials Allow Birth Control Magazine in Japan


U.S. military authorities in charge of the occupation of Japan on this day granted permission for the first birth control magazine to be published in Japan. The magazine would be known as the Japan Planned Parenthood Journal. On August 30, 1949, however, General Douglas MacArthur, commander of U.S. occupation forces, withdrew permission for birth control pioneer Margaret Sanger to visit Japan, because the birth control issue was so sensitive. Japan had very high abortion rates, and Sanger felt that greater availability of birth control information and services would reduce the number of abortions.

Sanger finally had a triumphant visit to Japan in 1953 (when Gen. MacArthur was gone from the scene). She addressed the Japanese Diet and was given a motorcade parade, in which sound trucks announced “Sanger is here.”

Learn more about Margaret Sanger: Ellen Chesler, Woman of Valor: Margaret Sanger and the Birth Control Movement in America (1992)

And more: Jean H. Baker, Margaret Sanger: A Life of Passion (2011)

Learn more about birth control pills in Japan today: http://www.survivingnjapan.com/2010/12/guide-to-birth-control-pills-in-japan.html

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