image credit: facebook/Takeuchi Naoko image credit: facebook/Takeuchi Naoko

The Japanese government is trying to crack down on the spread of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) with a little help from Sailor Moon. The country's Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare is attempting to raise awareness of the importance of condom use by featuring the popular anime character on condom packets, reports the Anime News Network.

Currently, Japan is facing an increase in the number of new STI cases among young women, with syphilis being one of the fastest spreading infections. The government launched a public awareness campaign on Monday (November 21st) in a bid to improve condom use.

To help with this mission, the ministry has enlisted Sailor Moon, who is featured on 5,000 posters and 156,000 leaflets. The character is being used with the cooperation of Sailor Moon creator Naoko Takeuchi, as her anime work is popular among young women.

The leaflets and posters will be distributed through the 142 local governments across the country. They will also be provided to certain groups, including the Japanese Society for Sexually Transmitted Diseases, Japan Medical Association, Japanese Foundation for Sexual Health Medicine and Japan Foundation for AIDS Prevention.

Sailor Moon will also be featured on 60,000 condoms, which will be given away for free. These come in a heart-shaped pouch that features information on STIs, as well as illustrations of the character. The tagline of the campaign is "If you don't get tested, I will punish you!" ensuring fans of Sailor Moon will find it fun as well as informative.

STIs are becoming a lot more common in Japan, with the number of reported syphilis cases increasing from just 621 in 2010 to 2,697 in 2015. From the start of this year to the beginning of October, more than 3,000 people have been diagnosed with syphilis, showing an increase on last year's figures already.

It is hoped that the campaign will promote the prevention of STIs, as well as inform people about the importance of regular testing, how to detect infections early and how they are treated.