IVF treatment has come out of the shadows a bit since 2001. Like his predecessor Shinzo Abe, Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga has identified Japan’s baby drought as a major point of government concern. Last month Suga said national health insurance would be expanded to cover fertility treatment for couples struggling to have children (at present, it is not). These treatments can cost ¥300,000 to ¥500,000 a cycle. Many women plough through their life savings in multiple, often fruitless attempts to get pregnant.
The murder of an elderly homeless woman in Tokyo in November was another reminder of the vulnerability of people living on the streets, even in one of the world’s safest cities. Misako Obayashi, 64, was hit on the head, apparently with a bag of rocks, while sitting at a bus stop near Sasazuka Station in the early hours of Nov 16. Her alleged killer, Kazuhito Yoshida, 46, reportedly offered her money to move elsewhere and became enraged when she refused.
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