As the coronavirus pandemic puts strain on the economy, Japan is finally moving toward tackling the phenomenon of "period poverty" facing many women. But campaigners say there are a number of hurdles still to overcome in a country that has often treated menstruation as a taboo subject.

The central government last month decided to set aside funds to support women who cannot afford to purchase sanitary items such as pads or tampons, while some municipalities have launched programs to distribute the goods for free.

The moves come amid growing calls for gender equality in Japan, a country that languishes in last place among developed nations in female empowerment, with a big gender gap in earnings.