Morning After Pill in Japan

Emergency Contraceptives – morning after pills to prevent pregnancy following unprotected sexual intercourse or contraceptive failure, are available at certain OB/GYN clinics/hospitals or ladies’ clinics in Japan and are commonly called “Morning After Pill” (モーニングアフターピル). These pills must be paid by one’s own expense and are not covered by insurance.

The morning after pill in Japan is not sold over-the-counter and will require a prescription from the doctor.  Morning after pills in Japan can be quite costly, up to 20,000 yen. It is recommended that you check ahead with the clinics or hospitals to be sure they can provide you with the pills, as not all OG/BYNs are certified to provide emergency contraceptives. During consultation to receive the pills, the doctor will most likely ask you how much time has passed since intercourse as they are typically only effective when taken within 72 hours of unprotected sex or contraceptive failure.  They will also ask if you’ve ever taken them before – if not, then the doctor will go over the usage directions and the side-effects and answer other questions. If your doctor does not speak English or you are not comfortable speaking Japanese, please find a bilingual friend or relative or a professional Japanese interpreter to go with you.

Currently there are two approved options for emergency contraceptives in Japan:

– Planovar (estrogen-progestin combined) – プラノバール (purano-baa-ru) 2 pills to be taken at 12 hour intervals (4 pills in total).

– NorLevo (progestin-only) – ノルレボ (noru-rebo) 1 pill taken once.

NorLevo was only recently approved in 2011 in Japan. Previous to the approval of NorLevo, Planovar (estrogen-progestin combined) was the only approved form of emergency contraception. The price of NorLevo will generally land around 20,000 yen.

There are fewer reported side effects and higher efficiency rates for NorLevo compared with Planovar.

Side effects for the morning after pill in Japan include, but are not limited to, nausea, vomiting, dizziness and stomach cramps. These effects will vary depending on the individual.

Although the success rate of morning after pills in Japan is not 100% guaranteed, menstruation should occur after several days if pills are taken within the prescribed 72 hour window. If menstruation does not occur after several days, please consult a doctor for further testing or consultation.


Key Words:

Morning After Pill – モーニングアフターピル (moningu-afuta-piru)

Planovar (brand) – プラノバール (purano-baa-ru) – Occasionally called ヤッペ法 (Yappe-hou)

NorLevo (progestin-only) – ノルレボ (noru-rebo)


* Note: This article is for general informational purposes only and is not intended to provide professional advice. Please consult with a medical professional for the latest information and for all medical-related questions and information.


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