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Japan enlists Sailor Moon to encourage young women to get STD testing

The health ministry launched a campaign featuring Sailor Moon to encourage women to get tested for STDs
The health ministry launched a campaign featuring “Sailor Moon” to encourage women to get tested for STDs

TOKYO (TR) – Japan is calling on Sailor Moon to rally young women to get tested for early detection of sexually transmitted diseases through posters and condoms in heart-shaped packaging.

Iconic manga and anime hero Sailor Moon is spearheading the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare’s new campaign that launched on Monday, Nippon News Network reports (Nov. 21).

The health ministry prepared 5,000 posters, 156,000 flyers, and will distribute 56,000 condoms in heart-shaped packaging to local governments that request them, the Sankei Shimbun reported.

Borrowing Sailor Moon’s catchphrase, the health ministry’s poster warns readers, “I’ll punish you if you don’t get tested!”

Sailor Moon was chosen to encourage women in their 20s that grew up watching the show to get tested for STDs, the health ministry said.

“Hopefully we can break this situation where there’s more and more patients by borrowing the power of Sailor Moon, who was a childhood heroine for young women,” a health ministry official said.

The campaign is targeting the spread of chlamydia, HIV and syphilis, which has seen a surge in cases, especially among young women, over the past few years, according to the National Institute of Infectious Diseases. In 2004, there were 827 cases recorded. However, through October of this year the figure is already at 3,284.

Syphilis starts off as a painless sore, but triggers nervous system complications and serious abnormalities in the fetus if left untreated.

The health ministry spent a year designing the pink-centric poster with help from Naoko Takeuchi, a manga artist widely credited for her successful “Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon” manga series, which was adapted into an animation by Toei Animation.