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Philip Brasor’s Media Mix column headlined “In Japan no one wants to talk about sex education” in the April 8 edition tells of a sex education program by an “unnamed school” in Adachi Ward that apparently flew in the face of the Tokyo Board of Education’s view that “it was permissible to discuss prevention of sexually transmitted diseases, but not intercourse, birth control or abortion.” This view doesn’t seem to make much sense since most discussions about STD prevention usually do talk about the use of birth control; namely condoms.

However, there is another very obvious way not mentioned to prevent STDs: abstinence (i.e., avoiding sex until marriage). It would probably be challenged for not being practical, but looked at from a cost-benefit point of view, it seems worth a try. Not that much time would be needed to tell the students how much better off they’d be practicing it. Some of the benefits: no STDs, fewer abortions, learning self-discipline, which would enhance self-esteem, fewer family/school support problems, etc.

Well-presented, the students would see the advantages of abstinence and motivated to make it a part of their behavior, difficult as it might be at times. And giving the same information to both female and male students at the same time would make it easier for the girl to say “no” when necessary.

One of the reasons that prompted the school in Adachi Ward to set up their special class was a projected rise in the number of abortions. This surely is a valid concern given the grave consequences of abortion. Although often painted as simply removal of a “fetus” or “clump of cells,” this is really an unborn child; the way we all came into existence. The poor girl who is misled otherwise instinctively knows this and is sure to regret losing her child. This is perhaps the strongest argument for abstinence.

ROBERT AUSTENFELD
KOBE

The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.

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