But don't expect the Japanese to turn out in droves to get it.
The same attitudes that held back the pill's government approval in this male-dominated nation remain major obstacles threatening to block its social acceptance among both men and women.
"If a woman is on the pill, I'd like to ask her: 'Are you a prostitute or something?' " said Tomoaki Yatabe, 29, who married his girlfriend when she got pregnant. "Sex should be natural, so it's better not to use contraception."
Despite gains in the workplace and society, women who take initiative -- especially about their sexuality -- are frowned upon in Japan, a culture that still expects them to be passive and docile.
That attitude was evident during the pill's nine-year struggle against opposition in the government and among conservatives who thought it would erode morals. The pill finally was approved in June.
Pressure for approval had increased after the impotence drug Viagra got the go-ahead from the government earlier this year in just six months. Its approval sparked allegations of sexism from women's groups.
But the pill is unlikely to surge to sudden popularity.
One factor is suspicions about its safety. After years of hearing the official line that oral contraceptives pose health dangers, many women are hesitant to take them.
"I've never had a very good impression about the pill. No one can be 100 percent sure that it's totally safe," said Yumiko Sugawara, a 38-year-old Tokyo sales clerk.
Another factor that could inhibit pill use: abortion. Safe abortions have been available in Japan for 50 years, without the moral and religious stigma and political opposition common in the United States.
"It's easier for a Japanese woman to come out and say she's had an abortion than to say she's on the pill," said gynecologist Tomoko Saotome, who had pushed for the pill's approval.
And traditional attitudes tend to dictate that women marry and have a family -- not take well thought-out steps to make sure they don't get pregnant.
"I have problems accepting a woman who's on the pill. To be on the pill means she has no intention of having children," said 23-year-old university student Keisuke Yagihashi, who said he would forbid his girlfriend from using the pill.
Meanwhile, advertising prescription drugs is not legal in Japan, making it hard to get the word out. A few women's magazines have run articles, but they were only introductory stories. Pharmaceutical companies, including U.S. manufacturer Wyeth-Lederle and a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson, are planning to set up an information center.
Exceptions to the rampant rejection of the pill, however, can be found among the small number of women who have been on a higher-dose pill prescribed by doctors for menstrual disrders.
Yoko, 31, has been on the higher-dose pill for four years and plans to switch to the low-dose pill. The architectural office worker, who did not want her last name used for fear of a social backlash, has a boyfriend but no interest at the moment in marriage or motherhood.
"There's nothing better than the pill to have control over our own bodies," she said.
Written By Yuri Kageyama