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Japanese PM candidate pledges increased access to fertility treatment

14 September 2020
Appeared in BioNews 1063

Yoshihide Suga, the frontrunner to become Japan's next prime minister, has proposed that fertility treatments should be covered by insurance.

In a candidacy speech for the premiership, the current Chief Cabinet Secretary acknowledged Japan's low birth rate, and announced his plans to make fertility treatment more widely available. 

'In order to broadly support households that want childbirth, we will make infertility treatment applicable to insurance,' he said, according to Reuters.

The proposal seems to build on Suga's predecessor's, prime minister Shinzo Abe's, policies, dubbed 'womenomics', to increase the role of women in the economy and politics, as part of his project to tackle declining fertility and an aged population.

Suga similarly pledged to create an 'environment where women can stay healthy and play an active role in the community'.

Abe's policies, however, widened the gender gap in Japanese society, with a birth rate at its lowest ever in 2019. The government's introduction of free preschool education and child day-care services last year, was also largely criticised for lengthy waiting lists for working mothers.  

Suga plans to extend Abe's economic and pandemic response policies, but promised to add to this fertility treatment support.

SOURCES & REFERENCES
Japan's PM frontrunner proposes insurance for fertility treatments
Insurance Business Asia |  10 September 2020
Japan's PM frontrunner vows insurance coverage for fertility treatments
Reuters |  8 September 2020
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