HPV is a huge women’s health issue, and the Japanese government needs to stop playing games with anti-vaccers:

Japanese women’s health is increasingly at risk as public-health policy is driven by conspiracy theories, misguided political interference and bureaucratic caution. This is particularly evident in the government’s handling of the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine to protect against cervical cancer.

In June 2013, just two months after the HPV vaccine was included in the National Immunization Program, the Japanese government made the unusual and perplexing decision to keep the vaccine in the NIP but suspend “proactive” recommendations for it. This was evidently in response to highly publicized accounts of alleged adverse reactions.

The result was that girls in the target age group, from the 6th grade of primary school to the third grade of high school, stopped receiving the vaccine. Vaccination rates dropped to below 1% from about 70%.

Then there is this:

The Vaccine Adverse Reactions Review Committee, a task force established by the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labor, and Welfare’s Health Science Council, has repeatedly concluded that no causal link exists between HPV vaccines and professed symptoms, and that most reported cases were likely psychosomatic. A study of 70,960 vaccinated and nonvaccinated adolescent girls from Nagoya also found no significant association between 24 alleged vaccine-induced symptoms and the HPV vaccines.

Despite this, on March 16 Dr. Shuichi Ikeda, one of the principal investigators commissioned by the government to investigate alleged adverse events, presented highly misleading genetic and mouse experiment data at the MHLW’s Sciences Research Grant Meeting. He appeared on television the same day stating, “Without a doubt, there are signs of brain disorder. The results clearly reflect the objective findings which are common among the patients claiming such brain disorders.” The following day, major Japanese newspapers ran alarmist headlines.

Unbelievable. Dr. Ikeda should be fired.

The Japanese government needs to get out in front of this ASAP otherwise it will continue to put women in harms way. The public needs to hear from the government about how this claim has already been debunked, and reassure everyone about the true safety and importance of HPV immunization.

While MHLW did already make a statement to refute Dr. Ikeda, it seems to have backfired. They need to take a stronger stance, and forcefully demonstrate Ikeda’s ignorance on this topic, while at the same time presenting evidence showing why the HPV vaccine is safe.

The longer they wait, the longer this festers, and the less women will be inclined to vaccinate.