Japan: ‘I will suffer until the end’ — sterilised eugenics victim demands compensation

Footage released on Wednesday shows Ms. Iizuka (a pseudonym) of Sendai, Japan, explaining the story of how she was forcibly sterilised by the authorities when she was a teenager. At the age of 15, Ms. Iizuka was sterilised without her consent or knowledge as per the Japanese Eugenic Protection Law. In an interview, she said that her teacher took her for a 'health check-up.’ His wife then took... Еще her to the hospital and ‘didn’t explain anything.’ “At home, my parents told me that I got operated on and now cannot have children,” Ms. Iizuka continued. She went on to say that there are ‘many more victims’, adding that ‘the government should apologise and pay compensation.’ Ms. Iizuka is, reportedly, the first of thousands to sue the government over its historical eugenics law. She claimed the state violated her human rights and is now seeking 11 million yen (US $102,000) in compensation as she says she will ‘suffer until the end of her life.’ Michiko Sato (also a pseudonym), Ms. Iizuka’s sister-in-law, said the reason for her relative’s operation was ‘genetic mental weakness.’ However, Ms. Sato went on to say that it was not a ‘genetic’ problem, explaining that her sister-in-law’s handicap was the result of anaesthesia treatment at the age of one. Koji Niisato, Ms. Iizuka’s attorney, describes the case as ‘quite difficult’. He, however, decided to help her ‘despite all the related documents about her operation being thrown away.’ The attorney repeatedly asked for help from the Racial Discrimination Office until the Japanese lawyers' association submitted its written opinion on Ms. Iizuka’s case. The Eugenic Protection Law was introduced in Japan in 1948. Women with mental disabilities and illnesses, along with those who suffered from hereditary disorders, were to be sterilised in order ‘to prevent the birth of ‘inferior descendants’ and to protect life and health of mother.’ The law stated that the woman and her spouse needed to consent to the procedure; however, it is known forced sterilisations took place as the result of discrimination against the physically and mentally handicapped.

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