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. 

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About the author

David McNeill (PhD) is a professor at the Department of English Language, Communication and Cultures at Sacred Heart University in Tokyo. He was previously a correspondent for The Independent and The Economist newspapers and for The Chronicle of Higher Education and his work has appeared in The New York Times, The Guardian, The Financial Times and other international publications. He is co-author of the book Strong in the Rain (with Lucy Birmingham) about the 2011 Tohoku disaster. He is an Asia-Pacific Journal editor and a long-term member of the Foreign Correspondents' Club of Japan.

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David McNeill (PhD) is a professor at the Department of English Language, Communication and Cultures at Sacred Heart University in Tokyo. He was previously a correspondent for The Independent and The Economist newspapers and for The Chronicle of Higher Education and his work has appeared in The New York Times, The Guardian, The Financial Times and other international publications. He is co-author of the book Strong in the Rain (with Lucy Birmingham) about the 2011 Tohoku disaster. He is an Asia-Pacific Journal editor and a long-term member of the Foreign Correspondents' Club of Japan.