Japan: Court awards damages to victims of eugenics law

A Japanese court has awarded damages to people who were forcibly sterilised under an old eugenics law intended to prevent the births of “inferior children”.

Between 1948 and 1996, some 16,500 people, mostly women with disabilities, were sterilised to “prevent the birth of poor-quality descendants”.

The Osaka High Court ordered the government to pay ¥27.5m (£176,000) to three plaintiffs who are in their 70s and 80s and said the law, which was abolished in 1996, was “inhumane”.

An inferior court had ruled the practice unconstitutional but rejected the claim for damages on the basis it had expired.

The Osaka High Court, however, said that ruling “grossly violates the spirit of justice and fairness”.

In 2019, the government awarded compensation to thousands of people but the lawyers of the victims said the one-off offer of ¥3.2m failed to reflect the suffering people had experienced.

Saburo Kita, a representative for a group of victims, told Kyodo News: “Our lives were completely destroyed. This is not about money. With this verdict, I want the government to bow in front of all of the victims and apologise.”

The government will review the case before deciding whether to appeal.

Source: Irish Legal News