Good, Bad or Worst? Reproductive Health Challenges for Indian Migrant Women in Japan

Dr Megha Wadhwa1

1Sophia University, Japan

The number of Indians in Japan is 35,419 (December 2018) and around 30% of this community consists of women. Most of these Indian women move to Japan as a ‘trailing spouse’. This paper focuses on the reproductive health of Indian migrant women in Japan. India has a wide range of contraceptives available over the counter and additionally also offers other birth control options like implants and IUD’s. Most of these options are not available in Japan. The first part of the presentation focuses on the challenges faced by Indian women in terms of their reproductive health rights in Japan and how they overcome these challenges. Pre- and post-pregnancy are the periods of increased vulnerability for women, especially migrant women. One respondent mentioned, “After two miscarriages and one failed IVF in Japan, I decided to go to India to give it a try. I stayed there for about a year and my husband could visit me only twice. Finally, I was able to have a child. Even though I love Japan but I was so frustrated and depressed at the time of family planning.” This presentation reflects on the reproductive health experiences of Indian migrant women in Japan. It is based on the qualitative interviews with 20-25 Indian migrant women who have been in Japan for over 5 years. It reflects on the pre- and post-pregnancy issues faced by the Indian migrant women and also reflects on the causes and solutions.


Megha Wadhwa is a Post-Doctoral Fellow at Institute of Comparative Culture, Sophia University in Tokyo. She has lived in Japan for more than a decade. Her research focuses on Indian Diaspora in Japan and she is working on various aspects of the community including entrepreneurs, professionals, Indian women. She has written some articles on this topic for The Japan Times and also for academic journals. Her recent work focuses is on the Indian cooks and health care of Indian women in Japan.


The Asian Studies Association of Australia (ASAA) is the peak body of university experts and educators on Asia in Australia. Established in 1976, we promote and support the study of Asia in Australian universities and knowledge of Asia among the broader community. Our membership is drawn mainly from academics and students, but also includes industry and government Asia experts. We take a strong interest in promoting knowledge about Asia in schools and in contributing to state and Commonwealth government policies related to Asia. We provide informed comment on Asia to a broad public through our bulletin, Asian Currents, and specialist research articles in our journal, Asian Studies Review. Four book series published under our auspices cover Southeast Asia, South Asia, East Asia and Women in Asia.

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