Margaret Sanger, "Japan Family Planning Association Address," 18 Apr 1954.

Source: "Margaret Sanger Papers, Sophia Smith Collection Margaret Sanger Microfilm, Smith College Collections S72:897."

Sanger spoke before the first meeting of the Japan Family Planning Federation in Tokyo, Japan.Sanger wrote words and numbers summarizing the paragraphs in the left margin. These have been transcribed at the start of each paragraph.


Mrs. Margaret Sanger

April 18, 1954

↑Inaugural↓ Today as President of the International Planned Parenthood Federation, I bring you cordial congratulatory greetings. You have done a fine splendid thing in organizing the various groups in your country into a National Association assembled here today, the Japan Family Planning Federation.

↑1↓ The International Planned Parenthood Federation consists of nine national organizations. All of these have voted for and welcomed into the World Organization your Japanese Family Planning group as a full member of the Federation. This World group have also in Stockholm last August at its 4th International Congress elected unanimously Mrs. Shidzue Kato as one of the two Vice-Presidents of this Western Region consisting of Singapore, Hong Kong, Malaya, Western Australia and Japan. It is a pleasure to us all that Mrs. Kato has accepted this position as vice-president.

↑2↓ It is also my pleasure to accept for the International World Organization the kind invitation rendered by the President of the Japan Family Planning Association, Mr. Yasmaro Shimojo to hold the next Conference here in this lovely city in 1955. I am here in person as President to accept it with gratitude and respectful thanks.

↑Health & Welfare↓ Now that the two functions of my office as President have been expressed, I want to say how happy I am to find that your government, through its departments of Public Health and Welfare and is expanding its interest into fields and areas and villages through its trained medical personnel, its nurses and midwives. This is the most wide-spread practical method of instructing poor, busy, hard-working mothers and fathers as to the importance of Birth Control. This will certainly be the most direct way to lower the birth rate among parents and in families where already there are more children than can be properly provided for and educated.

The birth rate in Japan must be brought down to the level of the death rate to avoid the increasing numbers in your country. With 87 million people today, many in homes over-crowded, with little privacy, and food on a very low caloric level, it seems to me that all devoted parents must decide to limit the number of children to those now alive and no more. ↑& avoid the 100 million expected in 10 years.↓

↑India↓ There is only one other nation trying to reach the masses in the same practical method as Japan’s Health and Welfare Departments and that is India. While Japan has only a little over a million new babies a year, India has over 5 million. But the intelligent Prime Minister Mr. Nehru and his advisers have realized the danger of this increasing numbers. So they have included Birth Control education and practice in the Five Year Plan and backed up this project by allocating the $1,300,000 in American dollars or 46,800 man yen. Not too much, but a start so that medical and welfare workers can go to the villages and instruct parents and give the supplies necessary to achieve a lower birth rate in India.

↑Methods↓ The greatest difficulty today in all countries in regard to the practice of Birth Control is the expense and inconvenience of the methods. While we know the present methods of diaphragm pessary and jelly are safe and give excellent results, we must get a simpler and cheaper method if we are to reach into the submerged over-crowded homes in every country. There are now several scientific projects going on in the United States, England and India which will, we think, within another year, be given as a method for greater use.

↑Scientific Project↓ We are inviting Japan’s Health and Welfare Departments to join us in this scientific project. But people must be patient because the conscientious scientists and doctors labor carefully and long in the interest of the people before giving out pills or drugs until they are satisfied that these will be harmless and satisfactory.

I want, in conclusion, to thank the Japan Family Planning Association for their courtesies and kindness to me. I want also to pay my tribute in person and for the International Planned Parenthood Federation to those valiant pioneers in this country who have so faithfully carried the torch through those hard years of wars to the present time.

↑Pioneers↓ Our thanks to Senator Shidzue Kato who since 1922 has never ceased her interest and lifted her voice in the cause of Planned Parenthood; Dr. Majima who came to Zurich in 1930, alone and with that adventurous inquiring spirit, came to the first contraceptive conference in Europe to be informed in the practical methods of contraceptive techniques. Then the Amanos, both doctors, who also have traveled to learn the facts not only of the practice but the theories of experts, and today, the publishing of The Planned Parenthood Journal Quarterly is the finest publication printed in both English and Japanese. Their influence is truly international and their sacrifices too many. Besides the above mentioned, there are many others too numerous to mention but Dr. Abe and Dr. Nagai cannot be left out in paying tribute to pioneers in this country.

Finally from the individual we emerge to the group and now with the brilliant leadership of Dr. Koya, as Director of the Institute of Public Health, and Mr. Kusaba, Minister of Public Health and Welfare, we can at last feel that the work of the pioneers is not an isolated sacrifice, but of transmissible or contagious disease. Birth control will continue to be and should be a vital function in the promotion of health and welfare. It is not only a health and economic expedient. It is a great Social Principle and that principle interlocked with the progress and culture of a nation and with the advance of civilization.

I thank you for your welcome and your patience in listening to me.

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