The Japanese government apologized to thousands of people forcibly sterilized under a now defunct eugenics program, and offered the victims money in compensation.
The government of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe devoted 3.2 million yen (US$28,000) to all surviving victims of the program, while Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga extended “sincere remorse and heartfelt apology.”
- Conducted under Japan’s Eugenics Protection Law, the program ran from 1948 until 1996 and targeted people with hereditary diseases for forced sterilization surgeries and vasectomies.
- The law was designed to “prevent the birth of poor-quality descendants,” and Tokyo until recently viewed the sterilizations as legal.
- In around 16,500 cases, no consent was given for the procedures, while some victims were as young as nine years old.
- Under the program, more than 8,000 additional people gave consent to be sterilized, while nearly 60,000 women agreed to terminate their pregnancies due to hereditary illnesses, according to the Japan Federation of Bar Associations.
- The redress payments and official apology follow a spate of lawsuits filed by victims of the program, who argue it violated their right to self-determination, reproductive health, and equality.
- One group of survivors sought 30 million yen per victim, nearly 10 times the amount offered by the government.