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[Event Report] The Women’s Health Project Kick-off Symposium: Building a Reproductive Health Platform – Pursuing a Society in Which Japan’s Young People Can Make Decisions for Themselves Regarding Reproductive Health and Rights (October 26, 2021)

[Event Report] The Women’s Health Project Kick-off Symposium: Building a Reproductive Health Platform – Pursuing a Society in Which Japan’s Young People Can Make Decisions for Themselves Regarding Reproductive Health and Rights (October 26, 2021)

On Tuesday, October 26, 2021, the Health and Global Policy Institute (HGPI) Women’s Health Project hosted a kick-off symposium titled, “Building a Reproductive Health Platform – Pursuing a Society in Which Japan’s Young People Can Make Decisions for Themselves Regarding Reproductive Health and Rights.” The event was held in a hybrid format in which speakers and attendees participated both in-person at Iino Hall and remotely online.

The Programme of Action Plan presented in 1994 by the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) defines “reproductive health and rights” as “a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity, in all matters relating to the reproductive system and to its functions and processes,” which is taken to imply the right to self-determination in affairs related to one’s own body. Furthermore, achieving recognition of reproductive health and rights is included among the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which were adopted at the United Nations Summit in 2015, drawing attention to this issue from around the world.

Education has a major role to play in reproductive health and rights, especially during adolescence, when people may be more susceptible to influence from their relationships with other people, family members, and society. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) advocated the need for Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE) in 2018. In Japan, “Safety Education for Life,” an educational curriculum for reinforcing measures against sexual crimes and violence developed by the Cabinet Office and the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT), was presented in April 2021. Amidst growing domestic and international momentum for CSE for young people, HGPI gathered opinions from specialists in various fields and developed a comprehensive health education program for university students in FY2019. After providing that program to approximately 230 Japanese university students of all genders, we then conducted a study to examine its effectiveness. In addition to the need for comprehensive health education provided on a continuous basis and for the establishment of a framework that encourages behavioral change, our findings also suggested that Japan requires systems and policies which will ensure efforts for comprehensive health education do not end as a temporary movement. (For more details, please see our July 20, 2020 research report titled, “Developing a Comprehensive Health Education Program for University Students and Program Effectiveness Survey Results.”)

With that backdrop, as part of HGPI’s efforts for the creation of a society in which each young person can make independent decisions regarding reproductive health and rights, we established Youth Terrace, a platform for reproductive health, this fiscal year. Youth Terrace activities started officially in November.

To lead up to the official launch of Youth Terrace, the kick-off symposium was an opportunity for us to examine issues involving reproductive health and rights in Japan and prospects for the future. Together with multi-stakeholders from industry, Government, academia, and civil society, we deepened discussions on these and other topics.

While taking action through Youth Terrace, we will continue activities to encourage policies for reproductive health and rights with the goal of achieving well-being for each young person.

*A report on the kick-off symposium will be published online at a future date.

 

[Event overview]
Date and time: Tuesday, October 26, 2021; from 15:00 – 17:15 JST
Format: Hybrid format (Speakers and participants can join both in-person and online)
Venues:
 • Iino Hall (2-1-1 Uchisaiwaicho, Chiyoda Ward, Tokyo 100-0011)
 • Zoom webinar
Participation fee: Free
Languages: Japanese only
Host: Health and Global Policy Institute (HGPI)
With support from: The Nippon Foundation


■ Program (Speakers listed in no particular order; titles omitted)

15:00-15:05 Welcoming remarks and explanatory introduction
 Yuko Imamura (Manager, HGPI)


15:05-15:15 Keynote lecture – “Steps for Achieving Well-being for Each Young Person”

 Yasunori Yoshimura (Professor Emeritus, Keio University)
 


15:15-15:25 Video messages from Diet members

 Junko Mihara (Member, House of Councillors)

 Hanako Jimi (Member, House of Councillors)
 

 Takae Ito (Member, House of Councillors)


15:25-15:35 Special lecture – “Importance of Government Support for Promotion of Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights – the Swedish Example”

 Helena Kopp Kallner (Senior Consultant in Obstetrics and Gynecology, Danderyd Hospital; Associate Professor, Karolinska Institutet)
 


15:35-15:50 Research report – “Developing a Comprehensive Health Education Program for University Students and Program Effectiveness Survey Results – Recognizing the Need for a Reproductive Health Platform”

 Yuko Imamura (Manager, HGPI)
 


15:55-16:05 Relay talk with youth representatives – “Steps for Enabling Young People to Decide for Themselves How They Want to Live Their Lives”

 Tatsuki Tomatsu (Student, Keio University)
 Sophia Anna Kitano (Student, Sophia University)
 Rino Nakashima (Student, Keio University)
 Kyota Imada (Student, Keio University)
 Kazuko Fukuda (Representative, Nande Naino Project)
 


16:10-17:00 Panel discussion – “Considering Issues and Future Prospects for Reproductive Health and Rights in Japan With Industry, Government, Academia, and Civil Society – How a Platform Can Shape the Future for Young People”

Panelists:
 Yuko Kidoguchi (Operating Officer, Head of Communications, Bayer Holding Ltd.)
 Mariko Sato (Director, UNFPA Representation Office in Japan)
 Renge Jibu (Associate Professor, Institute for Liberal Arts, Tokyo Institute of Technology)
 Mihyon Song (Director, Marunouchi no Mori Ladies Clinic)
 Tomoko Hayashi (Director-General, Gender Equality Bureau, Cabinet Office)
 
*Ms. Renge Jibu participated online.

Moderator:
 Yuko Imamura (Manager, HGPI)
 


17:05-17:10 Message to the project

 Kanako Shinden (Domestic Business Development Team, Public Services Department, The Nippon Foundation)
 


17:10-17:15 Closing remarks

 Kiyoshi Kurokawa (Chairman, HGPI)
 


General moderation
 Ryuta Saito (Program Specialist, HGPI)
 

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