Sanitary napkins are the same as toilet paper at 17:32 on September 3rd.

"Please think that sanitary napkins are the same as toilet paper from now on,"

a principal of a metropolitan high school told a school nurse in the spring of this year.

According to the policy of Tokyo, sanitary napkins will be installed free of charge in the toilets of the school so that students can live their school life with peace of mind.

With the rise of "physiological poverty" as a social problem, there is a growing movement to seek ways to deal with menstruation.

There were more than I expected, "I was in trouble because I didn't have sanitary napkins."

"One in five students have had difficulty getting sanitary napkins for financial reasons,"

a group of young people published in March.

Since then, in response to growing public interest, support such as free distribution of sanitary napkins has begun in various places.

According to the Cabinet Office, 581 local governments are working on countermeasures nationwide (as of July 20).

According to NHK's total, 279 local governments distribute sanitary napkins at public elementary and junior high schools and high schools, and only a part of them are distributed as a whole.

How many children need to distribute sanitary napkins at school in the first place?

In Minato Ward, Tokyo, in June, we conducted a questionnaire targeting more than 2,400 girls and students from the fifth grade of elementary school to the third grade of junior high school attending ward schools.

17% have had problems with lack of sanitary napkins in school life

He says there were more people in charge of the Minato Ward Board of Education than expected.

Reiko Shinozaki, Chief of Educational Guidance, Minato Ward Board of Education

"I used to give sanitary napkins to people who needed them in the infirmary, but it was more than I knew in the infirmary. I imagined that I was consulting with my friends and seniors. "

When I asked the person who answered "I was in trouble" why

95% because I forgot to bring it

5% because I wasn't ready to buy or prepare at home

Reiko Shinozaki, Director of Educational Guidance, Minato Ward Board of Education

"At first, I was paying close attention to the fact that I couldn't get sanitary napkins for financial reasons, but my period suddenly came and I ran out of napkins. I think that having trouble is also an issue in the sense that it will lead to children not being able to lead a school life with peace of mind. How many such children have been so far? I couldn't see it, so I'm really glad I did the research. "

"Sanitary napkins in the toilet" Children's voices

How can we deliver the necessary sanitary napkins to our children?

In a questionnaire conducted by NHK, 30% of female students attending public junior high school who have menstruation answered that they were in trouble because they did not have sanitary products.

Of these, at Municipal Shiraishi Junior High School, spare sanitary napkins had been placed in the infirmary for some time, but I decided to ask the students where they would like the free distribution to be placed.

Toilet 87%

Infirmary 1%

Either way 9%

(150 respondents)

Most students answered "toilet".

Yamaguchi Municipal Shiraishi Junior High School Principal Makoto Matsunoshita

"The infirmary is a place where various information gathers, and it seems that it is a window for children in case of trouble, but it is surprising that some children do not. We usually say, "If you have a problem, go to the infirmary," but I realized that there are some children who can't go even if they try to go. "

How do you connect with your child?

Start exploring

While many students are reluctant to go to the infirmary to get sanitary napkins, for the school, if the students come to the infirmary, they can talk about various things, so they can be aware of their worries and troubles. ..

Therefore, at Onarimon Junior High School in Minato Ward, when I installed sanitary napkins in the toilet on a trial basis for one month from July, I put a sticker like this next to the case of the sanitary napkins.

"Please do not hesitate to use it when you are in trouble. Please contact the infirmary after use." Make

it free to use without telling adults,

and ask them

to come to the infirmary after using it. It was.

Since junior high school students have large individual differences in their knowledge and physical condition regarding menstruation, I would like to leave an opportunity to notice children who have various problems, not just because they do not have sanitary products.

That's why.

When I installed a small package of 5 in two toilets in the school, 10 sets were used in a month.

The students who used it came to the health room.

Nobuko Sato, Chief Teacher, Minato Ward Onarimon Junior High School

"I feel that it will be a valuable opportunity to communicate individually about menstruation." I have a lot of anxiety when taking exams and school events. " I was hurt when I was told to do it. ”I was told that I used sanitary products, and I started talking about various problems related to menstruation. Instead of just putting them in the toilet, I did it mechanically. After all, I want to keep the opportunity to come to the health room. "

“Poverty of menstruation” Looking at children

The survey also found that a small number of children may be facing “physiological poverty”.

When asked why they were in trouble because they didn't have sanitary napkins, there was an answer that asked them about financial problems and neglect.

Minato Ward

95% because I forgot to bring it

5% because I couldn't buy or prepare at home

Yamaguchi City

I forgot to bring sanitary napkins 76% I'm

missing 49% My

parents don't


me 2% I'm

embarrassed to buy 2%

(multiple answers / 292 respondents)

Some people argue that these children, who are supposed to be the most troubled, need an "environment where sanitary napkins are commonplace in the bathroom."

Ikumi Harada (42).

We are working to encourage the government to install sanitary napkins in the toilets of elementary and junior high schools.

Mr. Harada's father disappeared and his mother tended to be away, so he couldn't buy enough sanitary napkins from the time he reached the first menarche in the 4th grade of elementary school.

It lasted for six years until he became a high school student and started making money from a part-time job.

He used a napkin all day and replaced it with folded toilet paper, but he never thought he would go to the infirmary to confide his plight.

Mr. Harada:

"I never wanted to be considered a'poor child', so I was desperately trying to hide it. I had to return the napkin I got from the infirmary later, but I can't return it right away, so I said," "Hey, I forgot." I cheated and didn't tell the teacher anything more. "

In addition to the feeling that he did not want to show his weaknesses, he said that he was not aware that the situation was so difficult that he could ask for help.

Mr. Harada

"I think that you can't recognize" inconvenience "or" trouble "unless you use it in an environment with plenty of napkins. Only when you can use it without any inconvenience can you recognize the problem as a problem. I think that the idea is to finally consult with an adult. "

Just like toilet paper ...

Some schools have already realized the environment that Mr. Harada wants.

Tokyo Metropolitan Government began installing sanitary napkins at all metropolitan schools in September.

Of these, at Shinjuku High School, which began installation in mid-May, we dared to place it "randomly" while paying attention to hygiene.

Like toilet paper, he wanted to create an environment where sanitary napkins are commonplace.

Norimasa Yabuta, Principal of Tokyo Metropolitan Shinjuku High School

"I think sanitary napkins are used when and as much as needed. I would be in trouble if I didn't have toilet paper when I stooled. I thought it was the same. "

It seems that more than 410 napkins were used in the three and a half months until the end of August, even though I didn't make it known.

Until then, I gave it to the students who came to the health room, but last year, about 10 were used.

I feel that it may have helped the students' feelings that they had not noticed before.

Norimasa Yabuta, Principal of Tokyo Metropolitan Shinjuku High School

"By making it available to anyone, I think that it has reached children who said," I was actually in trouble "or" I can't say that I don't have enough sanitary napkins. "

High school students are adolescents


It's also a delicate time. For students who have problems with menstruation, you can make connections through other communication such as daily voices. Students are living a stressful life even with corona. Therefore, I want you to live your school life with peace of mind without worrying about hygiene. "

What is "normal"?

Through this interview, I felt that the search that began at school was not just a matter of location.

Until now, it was "normal" that there were no sanitary napkins in school toilets.

This is because sanitary napkins are prepared at each household, and it was thought that it was "normal" to tell the teacher if there was a problem.

But with just a few changes to these "normal" things, you can create a better environment for your children.

I think that the free installation of sanitary napkins is the reason for such awareness.

We will continue to cover how to create a society where everyone can live comfortably.

(Political Economy / International Program Department Rin Ichino Yamaguchi Bureau Norie Tanaka Network News Department Natsumi Yoshinaga)