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HOME  > Past issues  > 2019 April 24 - May 7  > Gov't will provide small one-off payment to forced sterilization victims
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2019 April 24 - May 7 [SOCIAL ISSUES]

Gov't will provide small one-off payment to forced sterilization victims

April 25, 2019
A bill to provide "one-off payment" to victims who had involuntarily undergone surgical sterilization under the former Eugenic Protection Act became law on April 24 with a unanimous vote at the Upper House plenary session. The new law could be an important first step in settling the issue, but is not what the victims sought.

The former law (1948-1996) forcibly sterilized about 25,000 persons with disabilities with the aim of preventing the birth of "defective" children. Most of them did not even know they were undergoing sterilization.

Japanese Communist Party member of the House of Councilors Kurabayashi Akiko, on the day before at a House Health and Welfare Committee meeting, criticized the lump-sum payment of 3.2 million yen for being several orders of magnitude lower than the state compensation paid to former Hansen's disease patients which was 14 million yen. She said, "That would be the same as underestimating human rights abuses committed by the state."

Kita Saburo, co-leader of the victims' families association said, "I've long blamed my parents and the doctor for what had happened on me," adding, "There is no formal apology from the government stated in the new law. I feel like I'm being deceived again."

Iizuka Junko said, "No matter that the law was enacted, it cannot bring my life with children back. I want the government to apologize to us in an honest and sincere manner."

As to how to apply for the lump-sum payment, applications must be submitted by the victims themselves. A sister of a female victim said, "My sister has a mental disability, so she cannot apply on her own," and demanded a review in application procedures. She also demanded measures so as to thoroughly inform all the victims of the lump-sum payment, saying that some people because of their learning disabilities do not realize that they are eligible.

Fujii Katsunori of the Japan Council of Disability strongly criticized the government for having left out the victims from the law-making process. He demanded that the government admit to its violation of human rights and of the provisions protecting human rights in the Constitution.

Past related articles:
> Forced sterilization victims sue gov't [May 18, 2018]
> Bipartisan parliamentary league formed to help victims of forced eugenic sterilization [ March 8, 2018]
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