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Woman sues gov't over forced sterilization under old eugenics law

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That is absolutely horrible. She deserves all the compensation she can get. Hell, the people who signed her sterilization papers need to be put behind bars (if any are still alive)

8 ( +13 / -5 )

Health minister Katsunobu Kato declined to comment on the case, saying he has not received legal documents.

ie His ministry has not enough time to destroy all relevant documents yet. Please give me more time to do so.

7 ( +11 / -4 )

I'll save her the trouble of waiting for the trial:

J-judge: "While we recognise the woman has suffered, what happened was wrong, and it cannot be undone, we find the government not guilty, but will none the less demand they pay her 50,000 yen in damages for years of suffering."

6 ( +10 / -4 )

Yet another draconian law surfaced in japan. There was a similar one in the Scandinavian countries in the 50’s sterilizing women who were not blonde.

10 ( +12 / -2 )

If that succeeds that's going to open up a whole can of worms! Its strikes me that this compensation culture that is spreading around the world is now getting out of hand! Where will this stop! I get that it was a Law that was a product of its time but at the same time lots of law have been unpopular you cant keep apologising and compensating people who fell foul of them years after they were repealed?

-10 ( +3 / -13 )

The eugenics protection law authorized the sterilization of people with mental disabilities and illness or hereditary disorders to prevent births of "inferior" offspring. It also allowed for forcible abortions.

Dear god!! Eugenics... I thought this was a Nazi thing... no idea it was happening post war... jeez

8 ( +12 / -4 )

Growing up I remember my Grandparents talking about when my Great-grandfather ran the poor farm in our county, they said many people were sent to the hospital for sterilization, most did not know why they were going to the hospital or were lied to, this continued into the 1970's if I am not mistaken.

Eugenics did not start with Hitler, it is said that he got many of his ideas from people like Margaret Sanger, she herself was against fascism and anti-Nazi, but that is just her thinking his evil was worse than hers to make herself not seems as bad. Yet, they give out awards in her name! Strange world we live in! No one has the right to tell someone they have no right to have children, no matter how high and mighty we may think we are!

9 ( +10 / -1 )

A couple of the usual candidates moralising here in the comments section but nice to see some strong numbers agreeing the complexity of the issue. Unfair policy, but it's also unfair to expect the rest of society to carry the economic burden of your children's disability.

-14 ( +2 / -16 )

Eugenics, eh?

Although no amount of money can rectify the wrong that was done to her, I hope she sues the pants off 'em.

Off to read a bit of Stephen Hawking now. Be good to each other.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

The problem is the old archaic law, so unfortunately nobody will be doing any burning of papers (@crikey) or doing any time (Aly) as what they did was totally legal while being totally wrong.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Although I shudder at the concept of govts deciding the fate of citizens based on disabilities, for me the sticking point in this, is that it remained lawful until 1996.

Chaotic post-war Japan ruled by very questionable people is one thing, but for it to carry on into the post economic miracle era is just dirty.

But it's not unlike many other of the ills suffered by Japanese citizens, only to be violated and discriminated against by the govt. Minamata sufferers, Hibakusha, Hanson disease sufferers...and others, have been downtrodden and their rights abused for so long. Can you believe that the forced isolation and confinement of Hansen disease sufferers was only changed in the same year - 1996 - decades after the victims safety was proven and the disease beaten.

Even now many of these peole are fighting for just compensation, but the govt is as cold as a govt could be.

So the plight of the mentally disabled in this case comes as no surprise. 

Govts the world over are famed for being hardnuts, but this and previous govts in Japan are just plain mean as mean can be. Billions for missile defense and crackers for the suffering. About par for course.

7 ( +9 / -2 )

This isn’t not much different from Hitler’s ideology. “Exterminating” the crippled to keep the race “pure”. Shame.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

Pay her!

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Though Japan was quite late in acknowledging the mistakes of eugenics, it's not the only country that has used sterilization on its population.

In fact, countries like Canada used sterilization during the early 1930s to the 1970s based on what was thought to be a scientific movement at the time. The number patients were much fewer and only occurred in two provinces such as British Columbia and Alberta, but nevertheless it did happen.

The woman certainly deserves compensation as her life has been destroyed due to mistakes of a few people who were in power.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

The Japanese doctor who performed some of these ops gives that old excuse "At the time, we had no choice but to perform the surgeries under the law."

While many countries did this,Japan as usual seems to be a country, that doesn't want to take responsibility and drags its feet.

I often think about the amount of people who died from all the other health.

Lew Archie, if we follow your logic, then every child before birth shall be genetically tested and if found to have some condition or future genetic marker may well be aborted after all as you say its "unfair to expect the rest of society to carry the economic burden of your children's disability" I wonder how you wish to judges someones disability? Asthma, MS, visual impairments, hearing conditions, heart conditions, Skin conditions,How about down syndrome or cerebral palsy.

What is your definition of "disability"? one persons disabilty with a condition is absolutely not a "disability" to others.

In the mean time lets look at all those wonderful comics you laugh with, while they suffer manic depression, how about the schizophrenic genius or move science forward, the professor who taught you who will get dementia, the actor who will get parkinson's. The list goes on. Who are you to judge who is a burden.

I hope you or someone you love doesn't get hit by a car or get a chronic condition incase you or they become a burden on society.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

I get that it was a Law that was a product of its time but at the same time lots of law have been unpopular you cant keep apologising and compensating people who fell foul of them years after they were repealed?

It's not only a matter of yes, they can keep apologizing, it's a matter of yes, they should keep apologizing.

That is what civilized human beings do after doing something wrong, especially when it has harmed others.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Forced sterilization takes place in certain countries even today. Two large countries come to mind immediately. I think it goes on under various different guises.

i feel quite sad for this poor woman and others like her mentioned in the article. She definitely has a strong case, IMHO.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

LandoftheLost: "The number patients were much fewer and only occurred in two provinces such as British Columbia and Alberta, but nevertheless it did happen."

Great that you qualified that by pointing out, after bringing it up in grand fashion, that it was only in two provinces, for a limited time, and in actually affected a small number of people by comparison. But, if you had bothered to follow up, you'd see that, one Alberta woman who demanded recompense was awarded more than $1M CN in 1995, "In 1995, in damages for her humiliation at being labeled a moron and her subsequent sterilization, Leilani was awarded C$750,000 and C$230,000 (together $1.44 million in 2016 dollars)." And since then, more than 1300 suits have come forward, which are expected to receive compensation (not for stigma, but for sterilization). It is unclear if BC has paid former victims compensation, but they have at the very least issued formal apologies to families.

So, you might want to compare that with what Japan is doing in response to what it did in the past if you want to compare what Japan did with what other nations did. So far, I've seen little to indicate that Japan is admitting what happened, and has apologized for it formally. Something other nations have, on top of paying money in compensation. So, let's see this woman compensated and apologized to, for starters. Remember, other nations stopped this LONG ago... Japan only did two decades ago and some change.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

I thought this was a Nazi thing

Maybe it sounds different when it's called forced sterilization rather than eugenics. Is the goal to create "superior humans" or to prevent the birth of children who will have a very high chance of suffering? As recently as 2015, a UK court ruled it legal to sterilize a woman with learning difficulties who already had six children. I don't envy the judges having to make such decisions.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

There was a similar one in the Scandinavian countries in the 50’s sterilizing women who were not blonde.

I was really curious about this so I googled 'blonde sterilization'. Your comment here on JT is the top result with nothing else relevant showing up. There were definitely sterlization programs in places like Sweden for people deemed to be mentally unfit, but I'm going to declare the blonde thing an urban legend without some evidence.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

America was poor on the problem so of course japan is. Nonetheless, law has evolved since then, and this include international law. Japan could be condemn on this.

It is too linked to the autorisation for a country to keep nuclear weapon. It shows the country is not evolve enough to carry intelligent diplomatic thinking in the present time - like killing whale under false pretense.

The disable child or adult is a charge for his family . It is only the family that can make the decision. Today there is pills to prevent pregnancy and other method to prevent procreation without having to change the nature of the body.

It is known that if you must sterilize stupid men to procreate, a number of rapist should fall under the same law and be sterilized. In my country, this decided political men to abort those kind of eugenics laws and thinkings. They suddenly understood that anyone with a grudge against a family could pay for the sterilization of an enemy under a false proof. And in the end, they admit that it is not because the human is debilitant that the state have the right to decide his life and health for him to that extend. Health care make progress every decades. We don't know its extend in the future.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

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