Period Poverty in Japan

Period Poverty in Japan
Menstrual products. By: Natracare, via Unsplash, 2021


Malina Wiethaus

Japan and Human Rights Researcher 

Global Human Rights Defence

In February 2022 the Japanese health authorities conducted an online survey to understand the extent to which “period poverty” affects women aged between 18 and 49. “Period poverty” refers to the struggle of women to buy menstrual products. The survey’s result released on Wednesday the 23rd of March 2022 show that women affected by “period poverty” shoulder emotional challenges as well as an overall decline in the quality of life (Kyodo, 2022). 

Since the outbreak of the Covid19 pandemic, Japan’s economy has taken a hit, leaving 8.1 percent of women in “period poverty”. Women in their 20s were hit the hardest. Over 12 percent of women in their 20s and 12 percent of women younger than 20 stated they occasionally or frequently experience difficulties acquiring sanitary products (Kyodo, 2022). 

“Period poverty” forces the affected women into making everyday life sacrifices. More than 70 percent of “period poverty” women say that they experience itching and rashes. This is due to the fact that they change their menstrual products less frequently, many also use substitutes such as substitutes. The most frequently cited reason for “period poverty” is low income, as over 37 percent state (Kyodo, 2022). 

Sources and further readings: 

Geng, C. (2021, September 16). What to know about period poverty. Mnt. Retrieved March 

24, 2022, from

Kyodo. (2022, March 23). Period poverty lowers quality of life; women in 20s hit harder: 

study. Japan Today. Retrieved March 24, 2022, from


KYODO NEWS. (2021, April 24). FOCUS: Efforts underway to end “period poverty” in 

Japan, despite hurdles. Retrieved March 24, 2022, from