“I could refuse if I had a sign language interpreter”: Report on forced sterilization of the hearing impaired produced

From The Asahi Shimbun

June 9th 2018

Around the forced sterilization operation under the eugenic protection law (1948-96), the All Japan Deaf Federation (headquarters / Tokyo) surveyed hearing-impaired people nationwide, and 70 people answered that they were forced to have sterilization surgery and have abortions. The Federation held a press conference in Osaka on the 9th June. It was the first time that organizations with disabilities carried out these surveys and made public.

In the interim reports of 11 prefectures such as Hokkaido, Miyagi, Osaka, Hyogo, Fukuoka, etc. who responded by May, 52 women and 18 men. The type of surgery was 33 cases of sterilization in males and females and 14 cases of abortion (with duplication). There are 24 cases that may have undergone surgery, saying “I became a body that cannot have children”.

Whether an operation based on the law or whether the consent of the individual is unknown is also unknown, it is counted as the “de facto operation” which was done against the will in a situation where it can not refuse.

The federation has about 19,000 members. After a woman with mental retardation forced to undergo infertility surgery sued the country in January, he started investigating to undermine the damage of the hearing impaired who is difficult to convey the intention. From March, we will listen to them in sign language from their families and their families through membership organizations in 47 prefectures and continue until August.

The eugenic protection law admits infertility surgery and abortion for the reason of his / her spousal disorder, and forced sterilization requiring no consent was also targeted to those with “hereditary hearing loss”.

I want you to apologize to the country”

Six people who responded to the survey attended the press conference. I could not get enough explanation because of hearing impairment and told me in a sign language that I was forced to undergo surgery.

Mr. Takaki Kaneo (79) in Kobe City was forced to undergo infertile surgery when married at the age of 29. My wife, Taeko (77), also had hearing impairment and my parents told me that being a child is not a condition for marriage. There were no people who explained the operation with sign language, and I realized for the first time that my pants were taken down at the hospital. “There is a limit in writing, I could refuse sign language interpreter if there is it.” Taeko wanted to ask having children saying “I wanted children.”

Kensuke did not know that there was the eugenic protection law, and thought that “eugen” is a good meaning like “priority”. This year, he read a newspaper article on forced sterilization surgery, and learned the meaning of the law. “I want you to apologize to the country,” he said. We also visited the interview with real names that other victims wanted to voice.

Yoko Yoshida (76) of Fukuoka city also said he would like to sue. I learned that my husband was infertile after surgery after marriage. “I have surgery without knowing, I am sorry”

Some people were forced to have an abortion. A woman in Osaka prefecture (78) was told to relatives who lived together that “Children will be deaf” and have been aborted many times. He ran away from the house and gave birth to the two sons. “I would like to talk about experience in order not to repeat the same thing.”

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