Japan’s top court to rule on forced sterilizations

On Wednesday, Japan’s highest court will rule on a long-gone eugenics statute that saw the government forcefully sterilize over 16,500 people, leaving the victims with decades of agony.

Five appeals from victims seeking damages and an apology following various rulings by subordinate courts are currently being heard by the Supreme Court. It must render a decision by 3 p.m. local time (0600 GMT).

The government of Japan confirms that from 1948 and 1996, a eugenics law was in effect, forcing over 16,500 people to undergo forced sterilization.

In an effort to “prevent the generation of poor quality descendants,” the law permitted doctors to sterilize patients who have hereditary intellectual impairments.

Authorities claim that 8,500 more people were sterilised with their permission; however, attorneys argue that even in those situations, the sterilizations were probably “de facto forced” due to the pressure the victims were under.

Physical constraint, anesthesia, and even “deception” could be employed during the procedures, according to a 1953 government warning.

“I’ve spent an agonising 66 years because of the government surgery. I want my life back that I was robbed of,” said Saburo Kita, who uses a pseudonym.

in the age of 14, Kita was persuaded to have a vasectomy in a facility that housed problematic kids.

Years later, after he was married, he couldn’t bring himself to tell his wife; he only confided in her just before she passed away in 2013.

“Only when the government faces up to what it did and takes responsibility will I be able to accept my life, even just a little,” Kita, now 81, told a news conference last year.

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