The On The Elimination Of All Forms Of Discrimination Against Women

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According to the latest concluding observations of Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), article 14 of Maternal Health Act 1948 is problematic since it states that ‘[t]he women are required to get content from their spouses in order to obtain an abortion’ (CEDAW, 2016, para. 38 (b)). However, the actual description in it is a doctor ‘may perform an Induced Abortion on a person who falls under any of the following items after obtaining consent from the relevant person and the spouse’ (Maternal Health Act 1948, Art. 14 (1)). In other words, it does not regulate the women to obtain their spouses’ contents, but it states that a doctor has to obtain consents from both the woman and her
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Then I will analyze the current Japanese situation by using various literatures, not only works of feminist scholars such as Petchesky (1985) and Norgen (2001), but also works of cultural anthropologist scholars such as Burnlund (1989). As Okin argues, even though Japan has a different cultural background from other developed countries, especially Western countries, cultural exception should not be adopted (1998, p.38). I agree on her argument, therefore, I do not intend to discuss that the conclusion of CEDAW ignores the Japanese cultural character, and it is wrong or inadequate. However, to understand the problem and its background, analysing it within the framework of culture might be still necessary. In addition to the works from those scholars, I am also using research data of contraceptive use in Japan as it seems to be remarkably unique among developed countries (Sato et al, 2006).

My research begins with a summary of the international movement toward recognition of abortion as a women’s human right. Article 98 (2) of Constitution of Japan 1947 states that ‘[t]he treaties concluded by Japan and established laws of nations shall be faithfully observed’. Hence, it can be said that to understand how international law regulates abortion and modify current Japanese act to align with it are necessary. Although Tozzi introduces ‘[n]o global UN treaty contains the word “abortion,” nor can a “right” to abortion be inferred from
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