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HOME  > Past issues  > 2018 May 16 - 22  > Forced sterilization victims sue gov't
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2018 May 16 - 22 [SOCIAL ISSUES]

Forced sterilization victims sue gov't

May 18, 2018
The government has come to face additional court trials, following the first filing of a suit in January, for having forced people with disabilities to have surgical sterilizations without their consent under the former Eugenics Protection Law (1948-1996).

On May 17, three people in their 70s filed lawsuits against the state in the Sapporo, Sendai, and Tokyo district courts to seek a total of 79.5 million yen in state compensation.

The three plaintiffs claim that they were forcibly sterilized in their teens on the grounds of having intellectual deficiencies and that they were deprived of the right to decide whether to have children. They also claim that the government has long been neglecting to take necessary action to deal with the damage they had physically and emotionally suffered. They denounce coerced sterilization as a violation of Article 13 of the Constitution which stipulates, "[The] right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness shall, to the extent that it does not interfere with the public welfare, be the supreme consideration in legislation and in other governmental affairs."

Under the former law, which was effective until 1996, about 16,500 people across Japan reportedly underwent compulsory sterilization operations, but 80% of them had no official records of the surgeries.

A plaintiff in Sapporo City, 76-year-old Kojima Kikuo after filing the suit attended a press conference and said, "I'd like as many affected people as possible to take the courage and come forward to stand with us."

A plaintiff in Sendai said that at 16 years of age she was mistreated by a vocational trainer and that without knowing it, she was sterilized on the supposed grounds of mental disability.

A plaintiff in Tokyo recollected that he was taken to hospital for surgery when he was in a welfare institution in his early teens. He said he could not confide this information to his wife of 40 years until just before her death.

Past related article:
> Bipartisan parliamentary league formed to help victims of forced eugenic sterilization [March 8, 2018]
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