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Japan firm to hand out 1 year's worth of free sanitary napkins to 1,000 needy students

This image provided by Daio Paper Corp. shows an advertisement introducing the company's sanitary napkin handout program.

MATSUYAMA -- Japanese paper manufacturing giant Daio Paper Corp., which is behind the "Elleair" brand's "Elis" sanitary napkins, announced April 7 it would hand out one year's worth of free pads to 1,000 students to respond to "period poverty," in which women can't afford feminine hygiene products.

    The company will accept applications for the free sanitary napkin handout targeting students who are of elementary school age or older through May 20.

    The Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare conducted its first survey on the state of "period poverty" in February, targeting a total of 3,000 individuals nationwide aged between 18 and 49. There has been growing attention over the issue of women being unable to purchase enough pads or tampons due to financial constraints. The survey found 12.9% of 18- and 19-year-olds saying that they have "often" or "occasionally" experienced difficulties in purchasing female hygiene products in the past two years, while 12.7% of those in their 20s answered as such.

    Daio Paper Corp. planned the project in a bid to alleviate concerns of students who cannot secure enough sanitary napkins. It is also set to have them respond to a questionnaire regarding its female hygiene products following brand improvement work in April, and aims to use the results toward product development. The company commented, "We'd like to pay attention to female hygiene needs of each individual, and continue to consider what contributions we can make as a manufacturer."

    Details can be seen on the special website

    The students eligible for receiving the free pads will be selected based on survey responses indicating reasons they struggled to afford the products, their feelings when they cannot get their hands on them, and other answers. The handout products are scheduled to be delivered altogether every four months from late June.

    (Japanese original by Hiroyuki Yamanaka, Matsuyama Bureau)

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