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Tribute to former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, father of Global Universal Health Coverage (UHC)

We are speechless, angry and profoundly saddened by the news that former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was brutally gunned down while delivering a public speech in support of his party’s candidate for the forthcoming Japanese election. The assassination of Mr Abe represents a shocking and cowardly act of violence that threatens the core values of humanity which he spent his entire life defending. Our thoughts go to his wife Akie and the people of Japan at this extraordinarily challenging time. During the Tokyo UHC Summit held in December 2017, IPPF delivered a message to Mr Abe saying, "Just as your grandfather was the father of UHC in Japan, we hope that you will continue to lead global UHC and be the father of global UHC". Mr Abe responded to IPPF’s message with passion and energy. He put UHC promotion at the heart of Japan's Global Health Diplomacy Strategy and became a genuine global leader in UHC, becoming an example for other world leaders. He also held the World Assembly for Women (WAW!) in Tokyo with the aim of building a 'society where women would shine' in Japan and worked tirelessly to promote the empowerment of women. Through the Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD) 5 to 7, Mr Abe created global momentum for improved development cooperation in Africa. Dr Alvaro Bermeo, IPPF’s Director General, notes: "IPPF will continue to honour the work of former Prime Minister Abe and advance his commitment to universal health coverage that includes comprehensive sexual and reproductive health services. May he rest in peace." Ms Tomoko Fukuda, Regional Director of IPPF East, South-East Asia and Oceania Regional Office, recalls: 'I will never forget the way former Prime Minister Abe spoke with enthusiasm about the realisation of a society where women would shine at the WAW! We still have a long way to go to realise women's empowerment in Japan and around the world, but we will continue to build on the foundation of Mr Abe's efforts." Main photo by Roméo A. on Unsplash

Dr. 北村邦夫(日本家族計画協会理事長)
27 May 2020

COVID-19 Impact: What we know so far – Japan

An interview with Dr Kunio Kitamura, the Chairman of the Japan Family Planning Association (JFPA), on the impact of COVID-19. How has Japan been affected by COVID-19?   The coronavirus (COVID-19) is spreading rapidly. The Japanese government announced a national emergency on 7 April, but the impact of this policy is yet to be seen.     What impact is COVID-19 having when it comes to sexual and reproductive health (SRH) services?   With strict measures imposed on the movement of people and the economy, JFPA has been discussing ways to continue to provide SRH services according to our mission, which is: “Reproductive health services accessible for everybody, everywhere in Japan”. JFPA is a small organization of around 20 staff and board members. Our team was working hard before and after the start of the pandemic to provide SRH services to all those in need. Regardless of the situation, our services must continue to be provided. Taking into consideration the incubation period of the virus, JFPA introduced working from home for the first time. By keeping a limited number of staff present at the office to do essential tasks, other staff work from home to continue the business.   Which services will be the worst hit? Trainers’ training is one of our core missions, and in 2019, more than 8,000 trainers participated in a total of 70 training seminars hosted by JFPA. Seminars in 2020 were partly rescheduled to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, as large-scale in-person sessions cannot be done without close contact between the attendees in a confined environment. JFPA has been preparing for the rescheduled seminars so they can be held once the pandemic is over, and we are discussing ways to conduct online seminars soon.   Can you tell us about any innovative measures that have been introduced in Japan to provide services in a different way than usual?   JFPA’s Family Planning Research Center, or the JFPA Clinic, is open as usual to provide medical assistance including consultations, hotline services, public relations, and advocacy work.  The telephone hotlines, namely the Adolescent and Family Planning Hotline and EC/OC Helpdesk continue to be open from 10am to 4pm from Monday to Friday (excluding weekends and holidays), every week. The number of incoming calls has not risen rapidly for these two hotlines.  However, calls from women currently under fertility treatments have increased at the Tokyo Fertility Treatment Hotline, which is sponsored by the Tokyo Metropolitan government. This is because of the announcement made by the Japan Society for Reproductive Medicine on 1 April asking clinics to “propose hiatus to clients receiving fertility treatment until the pandemic has slowed down and the danger of contracting the virus has decreased, or drugs that prevent or cure COVID-19 that can be prescribed during pregnancy is produced.”   Have you been trialling anything else?   JFPA had already officially rolled out an easy-to-use search page in September 2019 for those in need of emergency contraception (EC). The page can be accessed via a QR code scanned by a smartphone camera, and by feeding the user’s GPS data, a list of 20 medical facilities starting from the nearest to the user’s location is displayed on a browser. Alerts are shown next to facilities that may be closed on that day. There is a MAP feature that provides step-by-step instructions to reach the facility.   Can you tell us more about the clinic services?   Our JFPA clinic has not been designated to take in clients that might have COVID-19 yet, but more women who are using low dose oral contraception (OC) and low estrogen/progestin (LEP) pills (covered by the national health insurance scheme) are visiting the clinic. Luckily, our clinic has not run out of medicine or other commodities, but many clients have voiced their fears of losing access to contraception once a severe lockdown is imposed.  The government issued a notice to launch online medical consultations from 10 April, regardless of previous face-to-face consultations at the clinic. Even so, medical professionals must be ready to provide the most needed, lifesaving SRH services.    What options are there for women to access emergency services?   There are two options for EC in Japan:  Reduce the possibility of pregnancy by 90.8% with emergency contraception using a gestagen pill (Levonorgestrel) within 72 hours of sexual contact Inserting a copper IUD within 120 hours of sexual contact.  EC is prescribed upon consultation with a gynecologist in case of sexual contact without contraception, failed contraception, rape, and other emergencies. In case you do need an EC prescription, contact the clinic and arrange a visit to talk about your needs. What message do you have for people and your staff in Japan when it comes to SRH services and COVID-19? Even under these extremely strained circumstances we cannot lose sight of our goal to “realize a society that allows access to reproductive health services, whenever and whoever it may be”. As we see the increased threats and attacks on sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) issues, together we must continue to fight for the advancement of SRHR including comprehensive sex education. It is essential now more than ever.

鶴岡公二駐英国特命全権大使とDr アルバロ・ベルメホIPPF事務局長

Embassy of Japan and IPPF launch latest SRHR and UHC publication

On the evening of Thursday 31 January 2019, the Embassy of Japan and International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) jointly organized an event to launch an IPPF publication entitled Leaving no one behind: universal health coverage and sexual and reproductive health and rights, at the Embassy of Japan in London. This event was an opportunity to showcase the successful partnership between Japan and IPPF, and to highlight the importance of universal access to sexual and reproductive health and rights which is vital to achieving Universal Health Coverage (UHC), women’s empowerment and human security. It was also an occasion to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Japan-IPPF partnership.  Guests in attendance included British parliamentarians, representatives from numerous governments, and development and global health practitioners.  The keynote speeches were given by the Ambassador of Japan, H.E. Mr Koji Tsuruoka and IPPF Director General, Dr Alvaro Bermejo, and were followed by a networking reception. During his opening remarks, Ambassador Tsuruoka highlighted the importance of universal health coverage in ensuring that every individual gets the treatment that they deserve. He also praised IPPF for their continuous work “on the ground” to address the common challenge of health, and emphasised Japan’s support for IPPF’s activities around the world.  Dr Bermejo said: “By promoting universal access to sexual and reproductive health services that are stigma-free, effective, and affordable for everyone, IPPF makes a unique contribution to universal health coverage.” Dr Bermejo also acknowledged Japan’s leadership in promotion of global UHC based on its own experiences and successful campaigns that have resulted in UHC being adopted as a Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) target. The event provided valuable insights into Japan’s leadership in promoting UHC and global health, and the importance of partners looking ahead to forging new opportunities and accelerating collective efforts to achieve SDGs. 2019 is set to be another important year in building momentum towards UHC, as Japan hosts the G20 Osaka Summit in June, in hope of realising and promoting a free and open, inclusive and sustainable “human-centred future society”. Japan will also be hosting the 7th Tokyo International Conference of Africa's Development (TICAD 7) in Yokohama in August, and the Nutrition for Growth Summit in Tokyo in 2020.     See more: Full publication: Leaving no one behind  Speech: Ambassador of Japan Koji Tsuruokas Speech: IPPF Director General Alvaro Bermejo                    

日本で開催されたUHCフォーラムに出席するIPPF

IPPF’s Director General Designate welcomes Japan’s commitment to sexual and reproductive health at UHC Forum 2017

The International Planned Parenthood Federation’s (IPPF) Director General Designate, Dr Alvaro Bermejo, has welcomed a renewed commitment from the Government of Japan at the Universal Health Coverage (UHC) Forum 2017 to sexual and reproductive health services. At the Forum, Japanese Prime Minister Abe announced Japan’s pledge to provide UHC assistance, examples of outcomes of which include provision of 40 million sexual and reproductive health services and prevent 500,000 unintended pregnancies. It forms part of a much wider commitment by Japan to spend $2.9 billion US for health, nutrition, and water and sanitation to promote UHC further. Speaking at the UHC Forum in Tokyo, Dr Bermejo said: “The Tokyo Declaration is welcome news for those that worry that women who want to delay or avoid pregnancy don’t have access to modern methods of contraception. More than 200 million women are in this situation today. I’m optimistic that comprehensive sexual and reproductive health services will be recognised everywhere as a centrepiece of universal health coverage.” Dr Bermejo joined Prime Minister Abe and representatives from other global organisations, including The World Bank, The United Nations, The World Health Organisation and UNICEF in a joint show of support for the commitment made by Japan at the UHC Forum. He added: “With 152 member associations IPPF is the world’s largest network of locally owned, globally connected civil society organisations. We provide reproductive health services in 172 countries. Tokyo is good news, but we need to make it meaningful at country level. That is where, in the end, universal access to sexual and reproductive health services that are stigma-free, good quality and affordable for everyone contributes to universal health coverage.”

IPPF’s Director General Tewodros Melesse with Japan’s First Lady, Mrs Akie Abe

Japan’s First Lady and IPPF together for a world without discrimination

Japan’s First Lady, Her Excellency Mrs Akie Abe, and IPPF’s Director General Tewodros Melesse have agreed on the need to continue the fight to strengthen women’s health and rights, in a High Level Meeting in the margins of the UN General Assembly 2016 in New York. Japan is a strong supporter of IPPF’s work in the area of sexual and reproductive health and rights, and Mrs Abe has a personal commitment to improving the lives of women through her work with the World Assembly of Women (WAW), an initiative launched by her husband His Excellency Mr Shinzo Abe, the Prime Minister of Japan, in 2014 to create a society where women shine. Mrs Abe has spoken before about the need to tackle discrimination against disenfranchised communities, and noted again in her meeting with Mr Melesse the discrimination faced by the LGBTQI community. Mr Melesse said: “Mrs Abe is a tireless supporter of the rights of women and communities which face discrimination, such as the LGBTQI community.  IPPF and Mrs Abe share the goal of empowering women and building a world without discrimination. I look forward very much to working more closely with Mrs Abe in the future.”

Japan flag

Tribute to former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, father of Global Universal Health Coverage (UHC)

We are speechless, angry and profoundly saddened by the news that former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was brutally gunned down while delivering a public speech in support of his party’s candidate for the forthcoming Japanese election. The assassination of Mr Abe represents a shocking and cowardly act of violence that threatens the core values of humanity which he spent his entire life defending. Our thoughts go to his wife Akie and the people of Japan at this extraordinarily challenging time. During the Tokyo UHC Summit held in December 2017, IPPF delivered a message to Mr Abe saying, "Just as your grandfather was the father of UHC in Japan, we hope that you will continue to lead global UHC and be the father of global UHC". Mr Abe responded to IPPF’s message with passion and energy. He put UHC promotion at the heart of Japan's Global Health Diplomacy Strategy and became a genuine global leader in UHC, becoming an example for other world leaders. He also held the World Assembly for Women (WAW!) in Tokyo with the aim of building a 'society where women would shine' in Japan and worked tirelessly to promote the empowerment of women. Through the Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD) 5 to 7, Mr Abe created global momentum for improved development cooperation in Africa. Dr Alvaro Bermeo, IPPF’s Director General, notes: "IPPF will continue to honour the work of former Prime Minister Abe and advance his commitment to universal health coverage that includes comprehensive sexual and reproductive health services. May he rest in peace." Ms Tomoko Fukuda, Regional Director of IPPF East, South-East Asia and Oceania Regional Office, recalls: 'I will never forget the way former Prime Minister Abe spoke with enthusiasm about the realisation of a society where women would shine at the WAW! We still have a long way to go to realise women's empowerment in Japan and around the world, but we will continue to build on the foundation of Mr Abe's efforts." Main photo by Roméo A. on Unsplash

Dr. 北村邦夫(日本家族計画協会理事長)
27 May 2020

COVID-19 Impact: What we know so far – Japan

An interview with Dr Kunio Kitamura, the Chairman of the Japan Family Planning Association (JFPA), on the impact of COVID-19. How has Japan been affected by COVID-19?   The coronavirus (COVID-19) is spreading rapidly. The Japanese government announced a national emergency on 7 April, but the impact of this policy is yet to be seen.     What impact is COVID-19 having when it comes to sexual and reproductive health (SRH) services?   With strict measures imposed on the movement of people and the economy, JFPA has been discussing ways to continue to provide SRH services according to our mission, which is: “Reproductive health services accessible for everybody, everywhere in Japan”. JFPA is a small organization of around 20 staff and board members. Our team was working hard before and after the start of the pandemic to provide SRH services to all those in need. Regardless of the situation, our services must continue to be provided. Taking into consideration the incubation period of the virus, JFPA introduced working from home for the first time. By keeping a limited number of staff present at the office to do essential tasks, other staff work from home to continue the business.   Which services will be the worst hit? Trainers’ training is one of our core missions, and in 2019, more than 8,000 trainers participated in a total of 70 training seminars hosted by JFPA. Seminars in 2020 were partly rescheduled to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, as large-scale in-person sessions cannot be done without close contact between the attendees in a confined environment. JFPA has been preparing for the rescheduled seminars so they can be held once the pandemic is over, and we are discussing ways to conduct online seminars soon.   Can you tell us about any innovative measures that have been introduced in Japan to provide services in a different way than usual?   JFPA’s Family Planning Research Center, or the JFPA Clinic, is open as usual to provide medical assistance including consultations, hotline services, public relations, and advocacy work.  The telephone hotlines, namely the Adolescent and Family Planning Hotline and EC/OC Helpdesk continue to be open from 10am to 4pm from Monday to Friday (excluding weekends and holidays), every week. The number of incoming calls has not risen rapidly for these two hotlines.  However, calls from women currently under fertility treatments have increased at the Tokyo Fertility Treatment Hotline, which is sponsored by the Tokyo Metropolitan government. This is because of the announcement made by the Japan Society for Reproductive Medicine on 1 April asking clinics to “propose hiatus to clients receiving fertility treatment until the pandemic has slowed down and the danger of contracting the virus has decreased, or drugs that prevent or cure COVID-19 that can be prescribed during pregnancy is produced.”   Have you been trialling anything else?   JFPA had already officially rolled out an easy-to-use search page in September 2019 for those in need of emergency contraception (EC). The page can be accessed via a QR code scanned by a smartphone camera, and by feeding the user’s GPS data, a list of 20 medical facilities starting from the nearest to the user’s location is displayed on a browser. Alerts are shown next to facilities that may be closed on that day. There is a MAP feature that provides step-by-step instructions to reach the facility.   Can you tell us more about the clinic services?   Our JFPA clinic has not been designated to take in clients that might have COVID-19 yet, but more women who are using low dose oral contraception (OC) and low estrogen/progestin (LEP) pills (covered by the national health insurance scheme) are visiting the clinic. Luckily, our clinic has not run out of medicine or other commodities, but many clients have voiced their fears of losing access to contraception once a severe lockdown is imposed.  The government issued a notice to launch online medical consultations from 10 April, regardless of previous face-to-face consultations at the clinic. Even so, medical professionals must be ready to provide the most needed, lifesaving SRH services.    What options are there for women to access emergency services?   There are two options for EC in Japan:  Reduce the possibility of pregnancy by 90.8% with emergency contraception using a gestagen pill (Levonorgestrel) within 72 hours of sexual contact Inserting a copper IUD within 120 hours of sexual contact.  EC is prescribed upon consultation with a gynecologist in case of sexual contact without contraception, failed contraception, rape, and other emergencies. In case you do need an EC prescription, contact the clinic and arrange a visit to talk about your needs. What message do you have for people and your staff in Japan when it comes to SRH services and COVID-19? Even under these extremely strained circumstances we cannot lose sight of our goal to “realize a society that allows access to reproductive health services, whenever and whoever it may be”. As we see the increased threats and attacks on sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) issues, together we must continue to fight for the advancement of SRHR including comprehensive sex education. It is essential now more than ever.

鶴岡公二駐英国特命全権大使とDr アルバロ・ベルメホIPPF事務局長

Embassy of Japan and IPPF launch latest SRHR and UHC publication

On the evening of Thursday 31 January 2019, the Embassy of Japan and International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) jointly organized an event to launch an IPPF publication entitled Leaving no one behind: universal health coverage and sexual and reproductive health and rights, at the Embassy of Japan in London. This event was an opportunity to showcase the successful partnership between Japan and IPPF, and to highlight the importance of universal access to sexual and reproductive health and rights which is vital to achieving Universal Health Coverage (UHC), women’s empowerment and human security. It was also an occasion to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Japan-IPPF partnership.  Guests in attendance included British parliamentarians, representatives from numerous governments, and development and global health practitioners.  The keynote speeches were given by the Ambassador of Japan, H.E. Mr Koji Tsuruoka and IPPF Director General, Dr Alvaro Bermejo, and were followed by a networking reception. During his opening remarks, Ambassador Tsuruoka highlighted the importance of universal health coverage in ensuring that every individual gets the treatment that they deserve. He also praised IPPF for their continuous work “on the ground” to address the common challenge of health, and emphasised Japan’s support for IPPF’s activities around the world.  Dr Bermejo said: “By promoting universal access to sexual and reproductive health services that are stigma-free, effective, and affordable for everyone, IPPF makes a unique contribution to universal health coverage.” Dr Bermejo also acknowledged Japan’s leadership in promotion of global UHC based on its own experiences and successful campaigns that have resulted in UHC being adopted as a Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) target. The event provided valuable insights into Japan’s leadership in promoting UHC and global health, and the importance of partners looking ahead to forging new opportunities and accelerating collective efforts to achieve SDGs. 2019 is set to be another important year in building momentum towards UHC, as Japan hosts the G20 Osaka Summit in June, in hope of realising and promoting a free and open, inclusive and sustainable “human-centred future society”. Japan will also be hosting the 7th Tokyo International Conference of Africa's Development (TICAD 7) in Yokohama in August, and the Nutrition for Growth Summit in Tokyo in 2020.     See more: Full publication: Leaving no one behind  Speech: Ambassador of Japan Koji Tsuruokas Speech: IPPF Director General Alvaro Bermejo                    

日本で開催されたUHCフォーラムに出席するIPPF

IPPF’s Director General Designate welcomes Japan’s commitment to sexual and reproductive health at UHC Forum 2017

The International Planned Parenthood Federation’s (IPPF) Director General Designate, Dr Alvaro Bermejo, has welcomed a renewed commitment from the Government of Japan at the Universal Health Coverage (UHC) Forum 2017 to sexual and reproductive health services. At the Forum, Japanese Prime Minister Abe announced Japan’s pledge to provide UHC assistance, examples of outcomes of which include provision of 40 million sexual and reproductive health services and prevent 500,000 unintended pregnancies. It forms part of a much wider commitment by Japan to spend $2.9 billion US for health, nutrition, and water and sanitation to promote UHC further. Speaking at the UHC Forum in Tokyo, Dr Bermejo said: “The Tokyo Declaration is welcome news for those that worry that women who want to delay or avoid pregnancy don’t have access to modern methods of contraception. More than 200 million women are in this situation today. I’m optimistic that comprehensive sexual and reproductive health services will be recognised everywhere as a centrepiece of universal health coverage.” Dr Bermejo joined Prime Minister Abe and representatives from other global organisations, including The World Bank, The United Nations, The World Health Organisation and UNICEF in a joint show of support for the commitment made by Japan at the UHC Forum. He added: “With 152 member associations IPPF is the world’s largest network of locally owned, globally connected civil society organisations. We provide reproductive health services in 172 countries. Tokyo is good news, but we need to make it meaningful at country level. That is where, in the end, universal access to sexual and reproductive health services that are stigma-free, good quality and affordable for everyone contributes to universal health coverage.”

IPPF’s Director General Tewodros Melesse with Japan’s First Lady, Mrs Akie Abe

Japan’s First Lady and IPPF together for a world without discrimination

Japan’s First Lady, Her Excellency Mrs Akie Abe, and IPPF’s Director General Tewodros Melesse have agreed on the need to continue the fight to strengthen women’s health and rights, in a High Level Meeting in the margins of the UN General Assembly 2016 in New York. Japan is a strong supporter of IPPF’s work in the area of sexual and reproductive health and rights, and Mrs Abe has a personal commitment to improving the lives of women through her work with the World Assembly of Women (WAW), an initiative launched by her husband His Excellency Mr Shinzo Abe, the Prime Minister of Japan, in 2014 to create a society where women shine. Mrs Abe has spoken before about the need to tackle discrimination against disenfranchised communities, and noted again in her meeting with Mr Melesse the discrimination faced by the LGBTQI community. Mr Melesse said: “Mrs Abe is a tireless supporter of the rights of women and communities which face discrimination, such as the LGBTQI community.  IPPF and Mrs Abe share the goal of empowering women and building a world without discrimination. I look forward very much to working more closely with Mrs Abe in the future.”