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HOME  > Past issues  > 2022 February 23 - March 1  > Forced sterilization victims win court battle for state compensation
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2022 February 23 - March 1 [SOCIAL ISSUES]

Forced sterilization victims win court battle for state compensation

February 23, 2022

The Osaka High Court on February 22 overturned a lower court decision and issued a ruling in support of three plaintiffs claiming that the former Eugenics Protection Law (1948-1996) which had allowed the forced sterilization of people with disabilities to have been unconstitutional.

The high court also accepted the plaintiffs’ demand for state compensation and ordered the government to pay a total of 27.5 million yen in compensation.

This is the first court decision among similar legal battles where forced sterilization victims are fighting for state compensation.

The three plaintiffs are a woman in her 70s who has an intellectual disability and a man in his 80s and his wife in her 70s who have hearing impairments.

In the court battle, the plaintiffs living in the Kinki region argued that under the law, they were forcibly sterilized between the 1960s-1970s due to their disability and were unjustly deprived of their right to decide whether to have children. Meanwhile, the government referred to the 20-year limitation period for claims for personal injury damages under the Civil Code and demanded that their right to claim damages be denied as their sterilization operations took place more than 20 years ago.

The high court ruling pointed out that the plaintiffs took a long time to sue the government because they were unable to gain enough access to information regarding coerced sterilization practices under the eugenic law, and turned down the government demand. The court ruling also pointed out that the plaintiffs were deprived of their choice of having children, which constitutes a serious human rights violation.

Japan Council of Disability representative Fujii Kazunori said to Akahata that the Osaka High Court ruling noted disabled people’s right to have a child based on Article 13 of the Constitution guaranteeing individual dignity. He added that the ruling is epoch-making as it recognizes forced sterilization as discrimination and an abuse of human rights against people with disabilities.


Later on the same day asked by the press for a comment in the Diet building, Japanese Communist Party Chair Shii Kazuo stated that he evaluated the Osaka High Court ruling as a landmark decision, and said that the government should take the court decision seriously and not appeal to the Supreme Court.

Past related article:
> Forced sterilization victims sue gov't [May 18, 2018]

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