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50% of people in Japan 'had no sex' in March-May 2020: survey

This 2015 file photo shows Central Government Building No. 5, which houses the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare, in Tokyo's Kasumigaseki district. (Mainichi/Kimi Takeuchi)

TOKYO -- Forty percent of men and 60% of women in Japan did not have sexual intercourse between March and May of last year, survey results released on May 12 by a health ministry-backed research group have revealed.

    This was around the time that Japan was under its first coronavirus state of emergency.

    According to the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare, pregnancy notifications, which most pregnant women submit to local governments, also decreased by 5% between January and October last year compared to the same period in 2019. The pandemic may further accelerate the decline in Japan's birthrate in tandem with the decrease in sexual intercourse, the ministry added.

    The survey was conducted by Kunio Kitamura, president of the Japan Family Planning Association, and others, as part of projects subsidized by the health ministry. A total of 9,990 men and women aged 20 to 69 nationwide responded to the survey on their sexual behavior and living conditions from late March to late May 2020, covering before, during and after the first emergency declaration.

    When asked about how often they'd had sex during the designated period, 49.8% (39.5% of men and 59.8% of women) said they'd had none, 3.3% said the frequency of intercourse had increased, 7.9% said it had decreased, and 39% said it had remained the same.

    The tendency for sexual intercourse to decrease was the same for both unmarried and married people. As for the reasons for the decrease, "I refrained from going out" (45.7% of men and 42.1% of women) and "I was not in the mood" (22.6% of men and 28.8% of women) were the most cited. The percentage of respondents who said, "I or my partner was infected with the coronavirus" was 0.4%.

    (Japanese original by Satoko Nakagawa, Lifestyle and Medical News Department)

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