|The story below is originally published on Mainichi Daily News by Mainichi Shinbun (http://mdn.mainichi.jp).|
|They admitted inventing its kinky features, or rather deliberately mistranslating them from the original gossip magazine.|
|In fact, this is far from the general Japanese' behavior or sense of worth.|
Are condom-makers trying too hard to rise to the occasion?
Shukan Gendai 5/11 By Hiroaki Wada
Japanese condoms may be renowned for achieving a delicate balance between the sheets -- preventing sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and unwanted pregnancy while preserving sensual joy.
But their makers might have gone too far in their high-tech pursuit of thinness and lubrication, experts tell Shukan Gendai.
The contraceptives, warns the magazine quoting the specialists, cannot keep either AIDS or pregnancy at bay.
"They are too thin and puncture easily," Shoichi Kobayashi, a private condom researcher, says.
Kobayashi claims that silicon oil covering the contraceptives gives too much viscosity to users, so men tend to apply excessive pressure on the rubber products with near-limit thinness -- 0.02-0.03 millimeters.
This, the researcher tells the weekly, increases the occurrence rate of punctures.
Warns Yoshiaki Kumamoto, professor emeritus of Sapporo Medical College: "Due to their thinness, Japanese condoms are vulnerable to nail scratches and uneven and sudden pressures."
Etsuko Nozue, vice president at Kawasaki Kyodo Hospital, informs Shukan Gendai that 12 percent of women who are in their first year of prophylactic use become pregnant despite the preventive measure.
She adds that condoms her clinic uses for medical examinations often broke while being applied to probes.
"They puncture in our clinic, so we believe they do so in bedrooms," Nozue tells the weekly.
A spokesperson for a leading condom maker argues back, saying that the problem is not that Japanese rubber sacks are defective.
The problem, says the spokesman, is the way in which they are used.
"I assume there are cases when the products are used in unusual conditions, which are quite different from normal sexual intercourse," the spokesperson tells Shukan Gendai.
"We don't think punctures occur due to thinness."
Yet, another industry official at a product development section of a major manufacturer, confides that some thin brands could not pass International Standardization Organization (ISO) requirements introduced to Japan in recent years, a story confirmed by the Health and Welfare Ministry.
"So manufacturers have to make them thicker and stop indicating thinness on the package," the weekly quotes the industry official as saying.
Getting pregnant while using a condom is one story, but contracting STDs such as AIDS is quite another, especially when you used it as a precaution.
"If an amount of semen capable of causing pregnancy enter the body, it's possible to become infected with HIV," warns Nozue. (HW)