In Japan there were 9,426 reported cases of HIV infection and 4,468 of AIDS by the end of 2007. Regarding the mode of transmission, most are cases of sexual contacts and the cases of infection and AIDS among IDUs are reported as under one per cent. Most reported HIV infection and AIDS cases are of Japanese nationality and these numbers are constantly increasing. The increase among AIDS patients is exceptionally prominent in advanced countries. It is said that this apparent increase is due to the delay in commencing HIV testing. The number of infections in heterosexual sexual contacts shows a small increase while infections among MSM are increasing more rapidly. The data in 2007 show that among the reported cases MSM occupied over 70 per cent of cases. As for age, 70 per cent are under forty, and this ratio is the highest among advanced countries. Tokyo has the most reported cases, but in recent years the numbers are increasing outside Tokyo. This means that HIV infection has extended to small cities outside the metropolitan area. In Japan it is difficult to get information on the infection rate but the fact that the infection rate in donated blood and among pregnant women is going up shows not only an increase in testing but also an increase in the trend in the epidemic itself. In the 1980s and early 1990s, there was a problem when people donated blood for the purpose of getting tested for HIV rather than going to HIV testing centres. Because of discrimination against PwA/PwH, people were anxious about confidentiality in HIV testing. Since the late 1990s, however, confidential and free HIV testing is available in not only in big cities but also in regional cities and rural areas. The numbers of testing venues have been augmented, and there are also businesses where individuals can mail blood samples for confidential testing. Reported infections in donated blood are going up, indicating that HIV infection may be proliferating even in regional areas.

In Japan there was a controversy in the 1980s about HIV infection transmitted through blood products. The Ministry of Health and Welfare had failed to act quickly enough on reports that they should be using heat-treated plasma in order to prevent HIV infection. An estimated 2,000 haemophiliacs contracted HIV after using tainted blood products, and in May and October 1989, HIV-infected haemophiliacs in Osaka and Tokyo filed lawsuits against the Ministry of Health and Welfare and five Japanese drug companies. In January 1996, Health and Welfare Minister Kan Naoto assembled a team to investigate the scandal, and uncovered the relevant documents. Kan admitted the Ministry’s legal responsibility and formally apologised to the plaintiffs (Swinbanks 1996: 760).