Photo: Oitr

A Tokyo startup has created a system to provide free sanitary pads

Oitr is installing machines around Tokyo that dispense pads for free when you watch an ad

Written by
Emma Steen

The cost of feminine hygiene products is a sore subject in many parts of the world where sanitary products, including pads and tampons, can come with a heavier tax rate compared to other bare essentials like toilet paper. Japan is no exception, with welfare activists urging the government to address domestic period poverty – a phenomenon where people with low incomes can find themselves unable to afford menstrual hygiene products.  

Photo: Oitr

Though governments may be reluctant to reduce or remove the tax on feminine sanitary products anytime soon, Japanese company Oitr has come up with its own solution. The Oitr free pad dispenser is designed to provide free sanitary napkins to anyone who needs them in exchange for watching a quick ad. Because the cost is borne by advertisers,  you don’t have to worry about paying for the products when you’re in a pinch. 

Photo: Oitr

To use the dispensers, you first need to download the free Oitr app on your (iOS or Android) smartphone and register as a member. Then, when you’re in front of a dispenser, you can connect your phone to it using Bluetooth and receive a free pad after playing the video ad. 

At the moment, Oitr dispensers are installed in just six public toilets in Tokyo:

  • Nakano Ward Office 
  • Tokyo College of Music (Meguro Campus) 
  • Tokyo College of Music (Toshima Campus) 
  • Toshima Civic Center
  • Toshima Ward Office 
  • Toshima City Gender Equality Promotion Center

However, Oitr is looking to install more machines across the city soon, so keep an eye out. 

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