Japan’s eugenics not-so-distant past exposed

But he did not realize until January that his surgery was part of a government program to prevent the birth of so-called “inferior descendants” that saw tens of thousands sterilized, often without their consent, under a law not revoked until 1996.

Most were physically or cognitively disabled. But others suffered from leprosy – curable, and now known as Hansen’s disease – mental illness or simply had behavioral problems. Kita had been sent to an institution for fighting at school.

Now the victims, many of whom were in their teens or younger when they were sterilized, are fighting back, demanding justice from a government they say violated their human rights. A mentally disabled woman in her 60s has sued for an apology and 11 million yen ($100,328) in compensation, and other suits may follow soon


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