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Sex Education In The U.S. And Japan

1464 words - 6 pages

How much sexual knowledge adults should give to adolescents has been discussed for decades to decrease teenage pregnancy and sex related diseases. According to The National Campaign to prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy (2013), the U.S. has the highest rate of teenage pregnancy among developed countries, and about sixty eight girls per thousand became pregnant in 2008. To change this situation, the U.S. provides two kinds of sex education: abstinence-only sex education and comprehensive sex education. In contrast, Japan has one of the lowest rates among developed countries. Summing up the birth and abortion dates, at least 34,220 girls became pregnant in 2011 (Japanese Ministry of Health, 2011). Even though Japan has less teen pregnancy, lack of practical sexual knowledge has caused several tragic incidents in recent years. To give sexual knowledge to children, Japan provides fact-based sex education. Moreover, sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are becoming serious problem recently. According to World Health Organization, 490 million people get STIs yearly (2013). To avoid teen pregnancy and STIs, sex education plays an important role for adolescents. However, because there are several programs, what adolescents learn is different depending on the kinds of sex education. Among the three kinds of programs provided in the U.S and Japan, comprehensive sex education is the most effective one. This paper focuses on the sex educations in the U.S and Japan and describes their features and effectiveness.
Abstinence-only sex education is one kind of sex education in the U.S. It is a program which aims to keep adolescents from becoming pregnant by emphasizing the importance of abstaining until they get married. According to the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation (2002), thirty-four percent of public secondary schools described their sex education as abstinence-only in 1999. It has three features. First, it has been supported by the federal government since 1981 (Santelli, Ott, Lyon, Rogers, Summers, & Schelifer, 2006). Especially since 1996, the governmental support has become stronger and has provided a lot of money to the organizations which support abstinence-only sex education. For example, according to the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation (2002), the federal government provided about $135 million to the family planning programs that support abstinence-only sex education in 2001. However, instead of giving the strong financial support, the government set the detailed definitions of abstinence-only sex education and restricted other information (Santelli, Ott, Lyon, Rogers, Summers, & Schelifer, 2006). Secondly, this program believes that abstinence until marriage is the best way to protect a teenager’s health physically and psychologically. Therefore, in the program, students learn that being abstinent until marriage is the only way to protect them from becoming pregnant and having sex between adolescents is harmful physically...

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