Japan’s population is both shrinking and aging dramatically, and as a consequence, one of the most pressing challenges for its government and society is to secure a sufficient workforce. The Japanese government has relied on the increasing involvement of the elderly generation and female population in employment to offset the labor shortage in recent years. As the number of working women of all ages has grown, female health protection has increased in importance, specifically in the field of gynecology and obstetrics.
The Japanese government began certifying business corporations that actively support the health care of employees in 2014. The requirements for the certification were expanded in 2019 and from then onwards include substantial health management of female employees. According to a 2021 survey for accessing the fulfilled requirements for the certification, the majority of large corporations in Japan were implementing measures to improve health management for women. Among small-to-medium-sized incorporated companies, however, active health management for female workers was not yet universally implemented.

FemTech market

The Japanese government anticipates that the development of female technology (FemTech) will further facilitate the practical health management of women, and consequently, extend the average duration of women’s ability to stay in the workforce. The government began providing financial assistance to businesses offering or implementing FemTech services in 2021, subsidizing 20 establishments that year. The FemTech market encompasses services and products alleviating the health issues that women face during menstruation, pre-and-post pregnancy, and menopause. Products to gain better sexual wellbeing are also considered a part of the FemTech market portfolio.
Based on a recent survey, the menstruation-related area currently is the biggest market in the Japanese FemTech industry. One of the most popular domestic menstrual products includes a period tracker app LunaLuna, released by MTI Ltd. in 2000, which achieved 17 million cumulative downloads by 2021. Major fashion retail companies like Uniqlo Co., Ltd., G.U. Co.Ltd., and Peach John Co., Ltd. launched sanitary shorts in 2021 and widely promoted FemTech products. With the growing interest of public and private organizations and consumers, the Japanese FemTech market is expected to grow in the coming years.

Gynecology and obstetrics

The gynecology and obstetrics field of health is, nonetheless, still often considered a “taboo” topic in Japan. Taking official leave for menstruation, premenstrual syndrome (PMS), menopause, for example, is highly uncommon. Regular preventive checkups at a gynecologist are also not a routine habit for many women. At the same time, the number of new cases of gynecological diseases such as uterus myoma, uterus cancer , and ovary cancer has risen due to several factors such as increased average age and better diagnostics in the last decades.
The health ministry in Japan announced to resume the strong recommendation of the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination from April 2022 for young women after a substantial increase in cervical cancer cases. The promotion of HPV vaccination by the government was firstly initiated in 2013 when it became periodical inoculation and free for women aged 11 to 16 years. The government paused the promotion shortly after due to reports from women about severe side effects. The restart of the campaign is expected to increase the number of vaccine administration and raise awareness for the importance of women’s active engagement in health management from the early stage of their lives.

Interesting statistics

In the following 7 chapters, you will quickly find the 42 most important statistics relating to "Women's health and FemTech market in Japan".


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