Japan’s first-ever compensation over forced sterilizations awarded — Analysis

Osaka’s landmark decision in support of victims of an ineffective 1996 program has been approved by a court

On Tuesday, the Osaka High Court ordered Japan’s central government to pay compensation to three people who underwent forced sterilization as part of a now-defunct eugenics program. The plaintiffs – a hearing-impaired couple in their 70s and a woman with a mental disability in her 80s – are now eligible for a total of ¥27.5 million ($239,660) in damages.

The ruling is the country’s first in favor of the plaintiffs in this matter, with cases filed by other victims of the scheme rejected on the grounds that the 20-year statute of limitations had long since expired.

It was ruled that the statute did not apply to cases concerning the eugenics laws. “extremely contravene justice and fairness,”These victims would not have been able to sue the government if they had tried. Both the couple had their surgeries in 1974 and 1965, respectively, while one of them was given sterilization around 1965.

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The court branded the now-defunct legislation – which was only abolished in June 1996 – “inhumane and discriminatory,” accusing the country’s lawmakers of “negligence”For adopting it. However, the damages awarded to the plaintiffs are significantly lower than the combined ¥55 million ($477,880) they had originally sought.

The ruling was criticized by officials, and ShigeyukiGoto (Health Minister) called it the verdict of the court. “very severe.”Hirokazu Matsuno, the Chief Cabinet Secretary, has indicated that it would examine the ruling to decide whether or not it will appeal.

In Japan, people with disabilities and other conditions were targeted by the 1948-96 eugenics law. “defects”In order to stop the birth of these were “inferior” offspring. The program sterilized approximately 25,000 disabled people, with around 16.500 others being operated on without their permission.

Over two decades after the legislation was abolished, Tokyo adopted a scheme for the victims, with each individual who underwent forced sterilization eligible for a lump sum of ¥3.2 million (some $27,800) to compensate them for their “physical and mental suffering.”Critics have criticized the scheme for providing a single, small amount of compensation to victims instead of investigating every case individually. Local reports indicate that less than 1000 people received compensation so far.

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