On Oct. 24, TV personality Dewi Sukarno claimed on the Kansai TV talk show "Mune Ippai Summit!" that the main cause of infertility in Japan was abortion. The topic under discussion was the proposal by the administration of Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga to allow national insurance coverage for fertility treatments, and Sukarno, who thinks abortion should be banned, claimed that the most common procedure in Japan, dilation and curettage, damages the uterus, thus making it impossible for the patient to ever have babies again.

Both Kansai TV and Sukarno subsequently apologized for the remark, which was criticized for being false and inappropriate. However, it's difficult to gauge how much her opinion reflected that of the public, or how many people who heard the comment believed it and disregarded the subsequent retraction.

The distinction is important since abortion is a taboo subject, as it is in many places in the world, so it's easy to spread false information, especially in Japan where related statistics are unreliable. Technically, abortion in Japan is only legal under special circumstances, including economic hardship. Whether gynecologists screen for these circumstances isn't clear because, as most abortions are not covered by national health insurance, record-keeping is dodgy. The health ministry reported about 168,000 abortions in 2016, although the number may be higher.