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More people feel infertility treatment is difficult in Japan compared to respondents in France, Germany and Sweden, a Japanese government survey showed Friday.

The survey showed that 44.6% of respondents in Japan age 20 to 49 said they think it is not easy to be treated for infertility. That compared with rates of 12.3% in France, 16.6% in Germany and 10% in Sweden.

Of those in Japan who said it is not easy to take the treatment, 91.8%, the highest proportion, cited high costs as their reason.

High costs were the most cited reason in the European countries as well, including 76.5% of respondents in Germany.

The survey in Japan was carried out from October to January on 2,500 people, with valid responses coming from 54.9%.

The government expanded the amount of subsidies available for infertility treatment in January. It plans to cover the treatment under public health insurance starting in fiscal 2022, which begins in April next year.

Another survey showed that 10.2% of unmarried Japanese respondents feel a stronger urge to get married since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, while 74.2% said it has not changed.

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