How to Buy Morning After Pills in Japan in English

Where to get Morning-after pills online in Japan with English speaker staff

How to Buy Morning After Pills in Japan in English

As with many issues related to women’s sexual and reproductive health, Japan still has a long way to go. Although in practice women living in Japan have access to morning-after pills, and contraceptive pills, and abortion is also legal, the reality is that access to these resources is not easy. According to a 2019 United Nations report, less than 3% of Japanese women use birth control pills.

There is still a lot of stigma and lack of information, and many women may don’t feel confident enough to talk about these things with their friends or acquaintances. But these are important topics and information to which any woman should have access. In this article, I would like to help other other women living in Japan with detailed information about the situation of the morning-after pill in Japan and where to buy it.

*Please note that this article contains affiliate links.

Looking for the pill in Japan? Clinic Nearme can ship it to your home!

Pills in Japan

Emergency Contraception Pill in Japan

Birth control pills, including the morning-after pill were approved in Japan in 1999. The official name for the emergency pill is kinkyuu hint hou (緊急避妊法). But nowadays everyone calls it “moningu afutaa piru” (モーニングアフターピル), sometimes abbreviated to “afutaa piru” (アフターピル), a katakana version of the English word morning after pill.

As you may have noticed, the legalization of these pills came to Japan more than two decades after they were legalized in most Western countries. And this delay is probably also the reason why, to this day, getting the morning-after pill is not particularly easy for women living in Japan.

And it is that to date, in Japan you need to go to a gynecological clinic or hospital and have a visit with the doctor in order to have the pill. This in itself is a hindrance as you need to find a clinic and go there, robbing you of important time especially when it is a pill that needs to be taken as soon as possible. But then, to complicate it even more, most clinics in Japan are not open on weekends or national holidays, during the week they close very early and not even all of them have the morning-after pill. So it can be difficult to find a clinic near your home that is opened and can provide you with the emergency contraception pill.

Not to mention the price. The Japanese government does not consider that the morning-after pill should be covered by the Japanese national health insurance, so people who need it must to pay 100% of the cost, which is around 10,000 yen including doctor’s visit fee.

Many associations and activists have been lobbying the Japanese government regarding this fact, as it is the only country in the Group of Seven that does not offer over-the-counter purchase of the morning-after pill. Some vulnerable sectors such as young girls or women with low income, or women living in rural areas may have particular problems in finding a clinic open within 72 hours and in case of an unwanted pregnancy, abortion in Japan is legal but costs around 100,000-200,000 yen and is a way more traumatic process.

Get the Morning-After Pill Over the Counter in Japan

The good news is, it seems that the Japanese government finally wants to make some changes and facilitate access to morning-after pills. Following a trial conducted as part of a research study commissioned by the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare, from November 28, 2023 to March 2024 morning-after pills will be available at 145 pharmacies around the country for a cost of 7,000-9,000 yen.

Women and girls over the age of 18 who do not agree to participate in the research and answer some questions, including sensitive information. Girls under 18 need the permission of their parents or guardian, who must accompany them to the pharmacy.

Once at the pharmacy, identification (My Number, driver’s license, etc.) and an email address are required. In the case of minors, the identification of their guardian will also be required. Participants will be asked to complete two surveys, one before taking the pill and one a few weeks later. The pill must be taken in front of the pharmacist and a visit to a gynecologist 3 weeks after taking the pill will also be required.

In some situations, if the pharmacist deems it appropriate, the potential buyer may be referred to a gynecologist or a one-stop support center for victims of sexual crimes and sexual violence. Also, if there is a possibility that the woman is already pregnant, a pregnancy test (at a cost of 1,000-1,500 yen) will be ordered first.

Personal information, including e-mail addresses, provided in response to this survey and research will be properly managed by the Pharmacy and Research Group.

Please note that to take part in this trial you need a high level of Japanese language skills to correctly answer the questionnaires and understand the pharmacist’s instructions. Therefore those who do not speak Japanese well are not eligible.

Buy the Morning-After Pill Online in Japan

If you don’t want to be part of the trial and prefer not to have to answer questions, but want something quick and discreet, there are a few options for getting the morning after pill online. As a prescription is required to have oral contraceptive pills in Japan, most clinics need to make an appointment to see the doctor. This requires some basic Japanese communication skills. The doctor will ask you some questions about your health, your period, what happened to make you need the pill, etc. If you don’t speak Japanese, this part can be difficult too and some doctors may refuse to attend to you.

One thing I didn’t mention before, is that many doctors ask the patient to take the pill in the doctor’s office, in front of the doctor. This can be very intrusive and uncomfortable for some people, not to mention that these pills can cause serious side effects, such as severe pain or even nausea/ vomiting and dizziness and it is much more recommenable to take them in comfort and privacy of your own home.

But there is a foreigner friendly option with assistance in English and the whole process can be done online.

Clinic Nearme Health

Birth Control Pills in Japan

Our affiliate clinic Clinic Nearme is offering a new service called Clinic Nearme Health, a Japanese company providing life support services for foreign residents in Japan. With Clinic Nearme Health you can get the contraceptive pills you need without going to the clinic, since the interview with the doctor is done through a video call, and for those that are not fluent in Japanese, they offer an interpreter with no charge. After that, they sent the pills to your home or desired address. Easy and convenient! 

The clinic is based in Tokyo, but you can order yours pills from any other prefecture.

I hope this article have been helpful. For more information about pills or other medical services in Japan, you can check these articles too.

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Written by

From Barcelona to Tokyo. Coffee & Adventure lover🌏☕️ 

I started to like Japan because of the anime, music and doramas, but after my first trip to the country I found what I love the most: traveling around, the culture and history. I have travelled a lot in Japan, but I still have many places to discover that I want to share with you🙋🏼‍♀️ Let’s discover Japan together!


Also, as a foreigner living in Japan for over 6 years I understand what kind of things are difficult when you move here and I want to help other people in the same situation that I have in the past.