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Source: " Fifth International Conference on Planned Parenthood, Report of the Proceedings (Tokyo: October, 1955) Margaret Sanger Papers Microfilm, Smith College Collections S72:964."

For Sanger's speeches at this conference, see Planned Parenthood: A Cultural Civilization Will Bring World Peace, Oct. 24, 1955, Welcoming Address to the Fifth International Conference on Planned Parenthood, Oct. 24, 1955, and Votes of Thanks, Oct. 29, 1955.


The Fifth International Conference on Planned Parenthood was not only the biggest and most significant conference the International Planned Parenthood Federation has held: it was the best organized. To this end, the several principal voluntary associations concerned with family planning in Japan had federated in 1953 to form a national organization known as the Family Planning Federation of Japan. Following the acceptance in 1954 of the Japanese invitation to hold the conference in Tokyo, a conference planning committee was immediately formed under the chairmanship of Senator Mrs. Shidzue Kato, with Professor Juitsu Kitaoka as Secretary-General, and in the intervening twelve months this small committee devoted itself to ensuring the success of the conference.

We were fortunate in having at our disposal the spacious meeting halls of the Masonic Building in Tokyo, which comfortably accommodated the large audiences at each plenary session and study group. More than 500 delegates and observers from all over Japan and from 20 other countries registered for the conference. The opening session on Monday, October 24th, 1955, was addressed by Japanese Government and planned parenthood leaders and by distinguished international guests. In the unavoidable absence in New Zealand of the Japanese Minister of Welfare, the Hon. Mr. Hideji Kawasaki, who had consented to be Honorary President of the conference, the Minister of Transport, the Hon. Mr. Takeo Miki, deputised. A message of welcome was read from the Governor of Tokyo, the Hon. Mr. Seiichiro Yasui, and greetings were given by the leaders of the three major political parties in Japan. From the Government of the Colony of Singapore, the Hon. Mr. A. J. Braga, the Minister for Health, brought greetings, and there were many other messages of goodwill from all over the world.

The widespread support in Japan for family planning was evidenced by the closeness with which the conference proceedings were followed in the press, on the radio and on television, and by the many invitations extended to international delegates by prefectural and city officials and by prominent social welfare and economic organizations. The final proof, if any were needed, of our welcome presence in Japan was the scroll which the Minister of Welfare, Mr. Hideji Kawasaki, presented to me on his return from New Zealand on behalf of the Japanese people, and in the honor done to me by their Royal Highness, the Emperor and the Crown Prince of Japan.

The papers to be presented to the conference had been mimeographed in advance in both Japanese and English, and a small band of indefatigable interpreters, several of them Japanese doctors who had volunteered their services, made possible the conduct of the conference proceedings in both languages. I cannot praise too highly the technical arrangements for the conference. No detail was overlooked from the paper- posters, announcing in English and Japanese the speaker and subject, which were prominently displayed as each speaker came to the rostrum, to the beautiful Japanese flower arrangements which graced every room. The proceedings ended on October 29th with a get-together dinner, arranged by Dr. and Mrs. Amano, which will be long remembered for the many and lovely gifts which were distributed to all guests. The smooth-running of the arrangements for visits the following week to the beauty spots of Japan, such as Nikko, Kyoto and Nara, and to places of interest in Tokyo itself, were due also to the hard and unremitting work of these two Japanese doctors.

The importance of the conference to Japan was the Government’s desire to replace the existing abortion program by a program of conception control. When I was asked by the Minister of Welfare in 1954 to address the Japanese Diet on Birth Control, I told him and other Hon. Members that I considered Japan already had the key to this problem in the training in contraceptive technique of 20,000 midwives who could take this knowledge into the very homes of the people who most need it.

The importance of the conference to us all was the bringing together for the first time anatomists, biologists, biochemists and other research workers for the discovery of a biological method of conception control, the miracle tablet maybe. Some ten top-level scientists from Great Britain, India, Israel, Japan, Sweden and the United States made available to the conference their findings. To Dr. Yoshio Koya, Chairman of the Organizing Committee, go special thanks for having sifted through the names of scientists and other specialists to bring together the finest group of men and women we have ever had at a conference.

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