More vic­tims sue Ja­pan govt over forced sterilisation

The Star Malaysia - - World -

TOKYO: Three peo­ple who were forcibly ster­ilised un­der a now-de­funct eu­gen­ics law in Ja­pan are su­ing the gov­ern­ment as part of a move­ment seek­ing an apol­ogy and com­pen­sa­tion for vic­tims.

The suits, which are be­ing filed in Ja­pan yes­ter­day, come af­ter the first such le­gal ac­tion by a vic­tim ear­lier this year.

“I came out (to court) hop­ing that many other vic­tims, who have been in agony for decades like my­self, will raise their voices and join hands with us” in seek­ing jus­tice, said a 75-year-old plaintiff fil­ing suit in Tokyo.

“I want the gov­ern­ment to ad­mit the truth and I want my life back,” he told re­porters, us­ing the pseu­do­nym Saburo Kita.

Kita was ster­ilised as a teenager. When he mar­ried years later, he couldn’t bring him­self to tell his wife, only con­fid­ing in her shortly be­fore her death in 2013.

He is seek­ing ¥30mil (RM1.08mil) from the gov­ern­ment, his lawyer Naoto Sekiya said.

“Not only did the par­lia­ment fail to take ac­tion (on re­lief mea­sures), the ad­min­is­tra­tion also ac­tively im­ple­mented a pol­icy that was clearly a breach of the con­sti­tu­tion even at the time,” said Sekiya.

Along with Kita, two other vic­tims will file suit – one in the Sendai re­gion and an­other in north­ern Hokkaido, lawyers said.

Ja­pan’s health min­istry ac­knowl­edges that around 16,500 peo­ple were forcibly ster­ilised un­der a eu­gen­ics law in place be­tween 1948 and 1996.

The law al­lowed doc­tors to ster­ilise peo­ple with her­i­ta­ble in­tel­lec­tual dis­abil­i­ties, to “pre­vent the gen­er­a­tion of poor qual­ity descen­dants”.

An­other 8,500 peo­ple were ster­ilised with their con­sent, ac­cord­ing to au­thor­i­ties, though lawyers say even those cases were likely “de facto forced” be­cause of the pres­sure in­di­vid­u­als faced. — AFP

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