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Japan: Supreme Court Orders Compensation for Forced Sterilization Victims | World & Science

Japan: Supreme Court Orders Compensation for Forced Sterilization Victims | World & Science

Japan: Supreme Court Orders Compensation for Forced Sterilization VictimsFrance Press agency

Posted on 04/07/2024 at 22:51

Japan’s Supreme Court on Wednesday ordered the government to pay compensation to people forcibly sterilized under a eugenics law, calling the practice unconstitutional and a violation of human rights. CNN

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In effect from 1948 to 1996, the Eugenics Protection Act permitted medical procedures that deprived persons with disabilities of the ability to reproduce, including physical disabilities, mental disorders, hereditary diseases, or leprosy, and protected the life and health of the mother with disabilities,” according to a copy of the law.

According to CNN, the decision issued on Wednesday, 3, addressed five lawsuits filed by victims of the extinct legislation in lower courts, which later advanced to the Supreme Court. The Japanese Supreme Court affirmed the lower courts’ rulings in favor of four victims, setting a payment of $102,000 to each of them and $13,000 to their spouses. In the fifth case, which was dismissed because it set a 20-year period, the panel overturned the decision, which set the period as “unacceptable” and “completely contrary to the principles of justice and fairness” — the case now goes back to a lower court to determine the amount the government should pay.

About 25,000 people were sterilized without their consent under the legislation, according to the court ruling, which cited government data. A total of 39 victims, six of whom died, have gone to court in recent years, according to public broadcaster NHK, highlighting the urgency of the cases as victims reach their final years of life.

In 2019, the government offered about $19,800 to the victims, but they refused on the grounds that the amount was insufficient.

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Following Wednesday’s ruling, elderly men and women, many in wheelchairs, who were victims of forced sterilization, celebrated with their lawyers and supporters outside the Supreme Court, holding signs reading “Victory.”

At a news conference, Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshimasa Hayashi apologized to the victims and said the government would pay compensation. He said he would take other measures, such as holding a meeting between the sterilizers and Prime Minister Fumio Kishida.