• Kyodo

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Due to financial constraints, 16 prefectures limit the amount they pay for rape victims to have abortions, despite a request by the National Police Agency to abolish the ceiling, agency sources said Thursday.

The medical costs of rape victims are fully covered in the remaining 31 prefectures under a system introduced in fiscal 2006. Public money from the central and prefectural governments is used to cover the cost of abortions and screenings for sexually transmitted diseases.

As of April, the ceiling in the 16 prefectures ranged from ¥90,000 in Yamagata to ¥175,000 in Wakayama, an NPA document shows.

Medical institutions set different prices for abortions, which are not covered by insurance. Generally, early term abortions cost around ¥130,000, while later-term abortions cost between ¥300,000 and ¥400,000.

In the prefectures that set ceilings, rape victims have to bear medical costs that exceed the upper limits.

“We are considering either raising the upper limit or abolishing the ceiling,” a Yamagata police official said.

The NPA received 1,185 reports of rape last year. The actual number is thought to be much higher, as some victims are reluctant to go to the police. Experts on sex crime issues are calling for a system to provide financial support to victims in unreported cases.

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