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HOME  > Past issues  > 2018 March 7 - 13  > Bipartisan parliamentary league formed to help victims of forced eugenic sterilization
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2018 March 7 - 13 [SOCIAL ISSUES]

Bipartisan parliamentary league formed to help victims of forced eugenic sterilization

March 8, 2018
Cross-party Dietmembers on March 6 formed a league to establish relief measures for victims, including people with mental retardation, who were forced to take sterilization under the former Eugenic Protection Law.

The law, which was enacted in 1948, was aimed at preventing the birth of “defective” children from a eugenic point of view. Under the law, around 25,000 people nationwide underwent sterilization operations and 16,000 of them were forced to undergo surgery against their will. In 1996, articles based on eugenics were removed from the 1948 law and it was renamed the Maternity Protection Law.

In the league’s inauguration meeting held in the Diet building, over 20 lawmakers from both the ruling and opposition parties took part and adopted a document regarding the league’s objectives and activities. The lawmakers included Japanese Communist Party members of the House of Representatives Takahashi Chizuko and Hatano Kimie and House of Councilors member Kurabayashi Akiko.

The document points out that forced sterilization made it impossible for the victims to realize their hope of having children and caused health damage in some cases, and states, “It was a clear violation of basic human rights of self-determination and the pursuit of happiness.”

The parliamentarians’ group plans to conduct surveys and hearings to assess the actual situation in regard to the damage that the former law caused. It also seeks to promote the cooperation between lawmakers and the victims, their organizations, and civil groups. The league will study and report on what should be done to help the affected persons.

Concerning the coercive sterilizations performed under the former Eugenic Protection Law, a female victim living in Miyagi Prefecture in January filed a lawsuit against the state with the Sendai District Court, demanding an apology and compensation. This is the first court battle of this kind ever.
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